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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 09:56 GMT
Mwanawasa slams drug takers
By Kennedy Gondwe
BBC Sport, Lusaka

President Levy Mwanawasa
President Levy Mwanawasa has condemned drug taking by footballers

President Levy Mwanawasa has condemned the use of drugs by Zambian footballers.

Zambia's head of state has also urged the country's football association to urgently find a solution to the problem.

Two South Africa-based Zambian players Harry Milanzi and Francis Kombe have in the last two months tested positive to cannabis.

Milanzi has been handed a six-month ban by the South African Football Association, a punishment that has since been endorsed by Fifa.

Kombe is yet to hear his fate.

President Mwanawasa took advantage of his trip to the Copperbelt province to launch a US$600,000 sponsorship deal for the Zambian league to denounce drug usage.

He said drugs were destructive and against the laws of the game.

"It is important that sportsmen and women refrain from this and instead work hard to improve their God-given talents," Mwanawasa said.

"The situation is not only disappointing but a big disgrace to government and the nation as a whole."

Mr Mwanawasa said he expected the Football Association of Zambia (Faz) to raise the standards of the game after clinching the sponsorship deal with Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).

The deal will see KCM put in US$200,000 a year into the league for the next three years and is the first sponsorship deal for the Zambian league for 10 years.

"It is my fervent hope that this investment will bring back the competitive spirit in the game of football in all clubs," he said.

The deal also sees the league being renamed as the KCM-Faz League.




SEE ALSO
Milanzi appeals against ban
15 Mar 05 |  African
Milanzi gets drugs ban
06 Feb 05 |  African
SA goes tough on drugs
22 Feb 05 |  African
Zambian fails drug test
15 Feb 05 |  African



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