Finally, one of the longest-serving National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (Naaz) president, Joseph Mungwari passed on the baton to one of his trusted lieutenants, Tendai Tagara.
Final Whistle with Brian Nkiwane
Tagara takes over the reins after Mungwari spent 14 years at the helm of the association, while Tagara has also been in the same leadership structures for almost a similar period.
What many are worried about is whether this is not just a case of old wine in a new bottle.
From what I have seen happening in football, particularly Fifa, the leadership has been around for a long time and it has been circulating among “trusted lieutenants”, compromising the quality of leadership.
The current Fifa president Joseph Blatter has been in the Fifa ranks since 1975. Blatter worked first as Technical Director from 1975–1981, then as General Secretary from 1981–1998, before his election as Fifa president in 1998. He was re-elected in 2002, and in 2007, although only 66 of 207 Fifa members had nominated him.
Blatter succeeded Jean-Marie Faustin Goedefroid de Havelange, the 7th President of Fifa, serving from 1974 to 1998.
So I see no reason why people should be suspicious of Tagara for taking over the hot seat. To me, it has became the fashion the world over.
What Blatter failed to do was to deal with some of the issues that had been levelled against his predecessors and allowed the ghosts to haunt him too. These included issues to do with corruption that has always been said to be rife in Fifa leadership, as well as racism.
The new Naaz president has the chance to prove critics wrong and correct the wrong decisions that the Mungwari-led executive made.
Tagara has the challenge to turn around the fortunes of athletics in the country after it had been plunged into the abyss by Mungwari.
Tagara has to deal with issues of corruption, nepotism, as well as double standards as most of the board members have turned to be managers of renowned athletes, which is against the Naaz constitution.
The sport was not going to recover if there was no leadership change.
A lot of disciplines have varnished to the extent of Zimbabwe managing to send only three athletes to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the lowest number ever since Zimbabwe started participating at the global showcase.
The numbers have been declining gradualy.
The Mungwari-led leadership did not do anything to revive the Chamber of Mines Games, the main reason why Zimbabwe sent a paltry number of athletes to the Olympic Games.
Provincial athletics leaders were running athletics business from their own homes, with the national executive having to operate from the streets as they had no offices.
I therefore challenge the new broom to critically look at all these things and address them as they would make him relevant to the athletics world.
A system must be put in place which will assist athletes from grass roots level; that is primary to secondary schools before graduating to become professional athletics.
Maximum effort must be put to make sure that there are a number of events for local athletes locally and that local athletes take part in international events. Most of our athletes have been leaving the country and in the process renouncing citizenship because they were disenchanted back home.
The old executive usually came up with a calendar they would not follow.
This had a negative impact in the preparations and performance of athletes. We hope this era has come to an end with the ushering in of Tagara. The ball is in your court Mr Tagara.
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