‘I do not know what I would be without football’ is not a usual statement one would expect from a lady. This is however an every day song for a 23 year Zambia army female recruit who is a coach for an under 15 football academy in Lusaka.
Delicious Hamwiinga has been coaching under 15 young stars at Rising Stars football academy since 2013 and has enjoyed a fair share of her team’s success. All on voluntary basis, Coach Delicious endures a distance from Arakan barracks to the show grounds where her team trains from.
“I operate all on voluntary basis and there is a special kind of satisfaction that I get each time I see my boys. They look at me like their elder sister and are committed, ” said Delicious.
Rising Stars football academy were the 2018 under 15 FAZ open tournament champions and are currently on top of the league,three points above second placed Black Boys of Independence academy. One would understand why Rising Stars has 13 players under the Barcelona football academy.
“My biggest achievement was sending two 12 years old players to Barcelona in Spain for a ten day visit. The Army Commander also recognised my works even though I’m only a recruit. I make a lot of sacrifices towards the academy and it never goes unnoticed,” said Delicious.
“All the players under me are encouraged to concentrate on academics too and I chase them when they record absenteeism in school twice a week. I strongly believe sports and school can be juggled and still, one can succeed at both, ” she said.
Delicious also said that the young players receive no allowances and are solely passion driven. She said she appreciates their commitment to the sport and wishes to find them sponsorship.
Asked on her future plans with the academy, Delicious said she wants to expand the academy and incorporate female football players as well. She said she is responsible for 53 players during school course and 86 on holidays.
“It is a sea of youngsters that I coach and they all bring their different personalities that stress me but I always look forward to seeing them everyday,” she said.
Delicious also explained how difficult it is to divide time between Zambia Army duties and the academy. She said Zambia Army is her first priority but squeezes time between duties to attend to her boys. She added that her dream is to see her players grow into superstars that will play in big clubs outside Zambia.
“I want them to play outside Zambia where there is tougher competition as compared to local football,” said Delicious.