Zimbabwean sport is set for a major boost after government finally made a commitment to fund national teams representing the country a development which could change the face of local sport.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Like many other sectors of the economy, sports in Zimbabwe has been affected by the harsh economic environment with National Sports Associations (NSAs) crying foul over lack of support from government and corporate sponsorship.
In some cases, some national associations have ended up forfeiting certain regional and international competitions or they ended up sending a few athletes to represent the country.
So dire has been the lack of financial support in Zimbabwean sport that in other sporting disciplines, parents have had to come on board and sponsor their children on national duty.
However, that could now be a thing of the past following the pledge by government through the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).
The funding will, however, only be limited to national teams.
SRC confirmed the development in a communique to all national sports associations in the country last week, a copy of which is in possession of Standardsport.
“The government of Zimbabwe has confirmed that national teams representing Zimbabwe will receive financial and technical assistance through the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation and the SRC,” reads part of the communique.
“The envisaged support will not cover club teams representing Zimbabwe but ONLY national teams.”
The SRC, however, emphasised that the funding would only be made available to associations in compliance with provisions of the Sports and Recreation Commission Act.
“National sports associations will submit their applications for funding support to the SRC for processing. Accompanying their application, national sports associations will also submit a filled compliance status form with details of their financial position, including information on donations sponsorship and other sources. After their tours/competitions, recipient national sports associations will be required to submit (a) report on their participation,” reads the communique.
While confirming government’s latest commitment, Sport, Arts and Recreation minister Kazembe Kazembe emphasised the need for national sports associations adhere to best international practices on corporate governance for them to access the funding.
This he said was in line with the 100 days Rapid Results Projects which the SRC is undertaking, where all national sport associations which will not be compliant with the SRC Act will be deregistered come April 10.
“That’s the correct government position. But this is only applicable to teams that are under associations with good corporate governance,” he said.
“I’m confident that the availability of funds to assist national teams will go a long way in changing the face of Zimbabwean sport, but it’s not just the funds. There are a lot of other interventions government has embarked on to try and improve our sport.
“These are contained in our 100-day programme and in our strategic plan. We had a strategic workshop for three days last week where we came up with a plan after having consulted stakeholders.”
Kazembe said government would be adopting a tough stance on governance issues in local sport.
“It’s no longer business as usual. Accountability, transparency and good governance are a prerequisite. Sports associations must be in good standing with the SRC,” he said.
There has been a regular outcry that most of the sporting associations in the country use an amateurish approach to business.
Some of the associations are failing to meet the basics such as submitting their audited financial statements while others such as the Zimbabwe Football Association failed to hold their annual general meeting for the whole of last year.