There were huge celebrations in the sports family when it was announced that there would be a stand-alone Sports Ministry and Honourable Andrew Langa was to head that ministry.
Inside Sport with Michael Kariati
From Zambezi to Limpopo, the talk in the streets, in bars and in homes was that sport was now going to receive the much-needed government financial support and the recognition it so deserved.
The previous ministry, which also encompassed education, arts and culture, had seen much of its budget channelled to educational needs, leaving little or nothing for sport.
The then Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, senator David Coltart was straight to the point, saying sport was a luxury, making it clear that he would rather channel all his resources to education than to “entertainment”.
But despite the huge expectations the new ministry created, nothing much has changed as sport continues to be second rated compared to other industries.
Apart from the US$10 million that was all consumed by the Sport and Recreation Commission, and a meagre US$80 000 forwarded to the Warriors during their participation at the Chan tournament in South Africa, there has been nothing to cheer about.
The Zimbabwe National Boxing and Wrestling Control Board’s appeal for funds to set up a secretariat fell on deaf ears and the board has been using the home of vice-chairperson Lorraine Muringi for meetings.
Worsening the situation is the fact that important documents have seen themselves in the boot of cars of board members while those who do not own vehicles have been moving around with them in their handbags.
National teams continue to fail to travel for international engagements and the few who have managed to, have done so at the expense of a shoestring budget from the few companies that still associate themselves with sport as most now see no reason to get involved.
What is disturbing is the fact that Minister Langa has taken to the same grandstanding, as did former minister Aeneas Chigwedere who in his speech at every sporting function always had a line that spoke about tax rebates to sport sponsors. But long after he left, nothing has come out of that.
Langa has been preaching the same gospel of tax rebates to entice sponsors into sport, but one year down the line, the issue has not yet reached the doors of the cabinet.
At the Annual National Sports Awards, the minister was bold enough to tell sporting associations that an audit was coming to all of them before funds could be allocated.
The audit is still to be instituted and the money is still to percolate to those who need it. But the question is: Is the money there or will it ever be there?
What we need from the minister is action, not promises. We need to see funds going to sporting associations for their developmental programmes and for the national teams to successfully participate internationally.
The funds should be distributed to the associations according to their needs. Some sports, like cricket, do not need much as they receive funding from the International Cricket Council and from television rights.
Yes, the Minister of Finance has the final say on who gets what. But it is the Sports Minister’s job to convince Patrick Chinamasa that sport, just like any other industry, deserves more.
Yes, the Sports ministry is there, but it is only when the kick-boxing team, the taekwondo team, the basketball team or individual sportspersons start receiving funding from the government that we will take notice.
So far, there has been nothing, and we are waiting for results.
Zimbabwe’s Nations Cup bid
September 30 marks the deadline for the submission of bids for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations to the Confederation of African Football.
With two days to go, can the Zimbabwe Football Association tell us what our bid document is all about? We deserve to know what we are supporting.
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