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Australian embassy funds Mbizo cricket facility

Australia has partnered with businesspersons and Kwekwe-based Midwest Rhinos cricket franchise to construct a state-of-the art cricket facility in the high-density suburb of Mbizo.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

The facility will be built at the Zimbabwe Cricket-owned development ground in Mbizo which was acquired in 2004, but had not seen any significant development owing to lack of funds.

Speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony at the cricket facility, Midwest Rhinos franchise administrator Kenyon Ziehl said they had accessed funding from the Australian Direct Aid Programme (DAP) following an initial visit to the ground by the Australian ambassador Matthew Neuhaus in 2012.

“He advised us to apply for funding through [DAP] at the embassy and in 2014, we made the application which was approved on September 21 and now we are going to be starting the construction of the $60 000 project,” he said.

Australia was partnered in the project by Coldchain Group through their Bokomo brand and John Moxon. Ziehl said the project had the potential to transform the face of Mbizo cricket.

The project will be carried out by Gwazani Construction, a Mbizo-based construction company in a move Midwest Rhinos says is clearly targeted at empowering locals through their participation in sport.

Midwest Rhinos forged a special relationship with Australia from the time they engaged former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie as head coach.

Gillespie was instrumental in bringing the Australian A team to camp for nearly a week in Kwekwe.

The visit was later followed by Neuhaus coming to Kwekwe to officially open cricket nets which had been refurbished through the Bokomo cereal and Lays brands.

Ziehl said the relationship had grown in leaps and bounds and hopefully would inspire the growth of talent from the dusty streets of Mbizo to end up on the international cricket platform.

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