By Byron Mutingwende
There is need to tap into the unidentified talent in the grassroots if Zimbabwe is to develop in sport, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Makhosini Hlongwane, the Minister of Sport and Recreation revealed that in a side interview at a press briefing in Harare on Tuesday 11 July 2017 to celebrate the outstanding performances of various national sport teams in an array of competitions held recently.
“The development of sport to a higher level can be realised if we tap into the grassroots to develop the talent there. We are currently implementing the revised national youth strategy to identify talent among the youths. We are going to hold the district youth games from 13 to 16 July 2017. There is also a line up of constituency youth games. These will culminate into the provincial youth games slated for the last week of July going into the first week of August,” Hlongwane said.
The minister bemoaned the low uptake of athletics and boxing out of the 21 sports codes available in the country. He said Treasury would not be in a position to fund all the needs of sporting development hence it was important to address structural weaknesses around resource mobilisation. To achieve this partnerships and joint ventures with the corporate world would come in handy.
Hlongwane added that the government took pride in the recent outstanding performance by the Zimbabwe National Football Team – the Warriors, the Senior Men’s Cricket Team (The Chevrons), the Senior Men’s Rugby Team (The Sables), the National Athletics Team and Benjamin Lock (the National Tennis Champion).
“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for the recent diligent sportsmanship expressed through these outstanding performances by the country’s national teams and their respective members in the various disciplines. I extend my profound congratulations to the Senior Men’s National Football Team for successfully lifting the COSAFA Castle Cup; making it their fifth COSAFA title capture,” Hlongwane said.
He congratulated the Chevrons for recording a series victory over Sri-Lanka in what emerged to be a historic success for Zimbabwean cricket. That was the Chevron’s series win away from home in the last eight years, but most crucially became the first team to successfully chase a 300 plus against Sri Lanka on Sri-Lankan soil.
The National Junior Athletics Team triumphantly scooped 9 medals namely 3 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals. The medals were courtesy of outstanding performance by Chengetayi Mapaya who set a new record leap of 16, 30m in the Junior Championships Category, transcending a 15, 84 precedent. Another medal was brought home by Gabri Mgbemna, following her exceptional success in the 100m-sprint category. The Boys 400m relay team also lifted another gold for Zimbabwe.
Tinotenda Munyonga won silver and bronze in the 100m and 200m sprints while Kundai Maguranyanga got himself a silver in the 200m race. The Athletics National Team won Bronze medals owing to efforts made by Nomatter Kapfurudza’s participation in the Girls’ 400m race; as well as Tinotenda Matiyenga’s input in the 200m race and Gabri Mgbemna’s 200m girls’ contest. The Atheltics team is in Kenya for the World Youth Championships and they are expected to bring some medals.
Hlongwane urged the Athletics Association of Zimbabwe to take advantage of the Community Sport and Recreation Club System to deepen their grassroots development and enhance their presence at grassroots level. He warned the Zimbabwe Rugby Union against engaging in petty political fights, which may compromise the development of rugby in the country.
The Sables had an away victory against Senegal at the Africa Gold cup, Group 1A category on the 24th of June 2017 in a brave fight marred by difficulties in the preparations of the match. To put an icing to the cake, Benjamin Lock had a brilliant performance at the International Old Mutual, Zuva Tennis Tournament which was held between 12 and 17 June 2017.