The Harare Metropolitan Baseball Association (HMBA) is spearheading the development of the sport in the country and is already working on the establishment of a high-performance centre at the Dream Park in the capital.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
HMBA is the leading province in the country having won five national championships since 2015 and provides the bulk of the national team players.
Earlier in the year the association also held a coaching course at Belvedere Teachers’ College.
“We are setting up a high performance centre at Callies Dream Park baseball field in Harare that will be the first in our country so as to take the sport to the next level. We have already finished the first stage of the renovations,” HMBA chairman Winmore Mubariri told The Sports Hub.
“In every sport, infrastructure is key and we lack that in Zimbabwe. And having state-of-the-art infrastructure in the country means we are able to groom top quality players, who can compete at the highest stage.
“When we have a proper field we are also able to host international matches as well as tours of provinces and clubs from other countries. Baseball is an expensive sport so we are trying to mobilise resources such as infrastructure and equipment to drive the sport in a bigger way. “Once the facility is fully developed it will be used for high performance, so we need partners on board,” Mubariri said.
For Harare baseball the vision is to “catch them young” and develop young talent.
According to Mubariri, the association has already introduced baseball in six of the seven districts in the Harare Metropolitan province with the Northern region as the odd district out.
Some of the association’s plans for the year were scuttled by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The 2020 season was much affected by Covid-19 as we were supposed to travel to South Africa and Zambia as a province and be hosted by other teams in the region. But we managed to conduct a coaching course at Belvedere Teachers’ College in March 2020 as a way of developing the sport which was highly attended by 100 students.
“Our technical team has helped the province and nation at large by producing some of the best players in our country and region. We now have the first ladies team for baseball that will be travelling soon within the region and internationally,” said Mubariri.
National team players produced by Harare province include Tembani Moyo, Vincent Chaima, Tanya Hungwe, Tanya Katsaruware, Freddy Blessing, Kelvin Kawadza and Gupta Basera, among others.
Mubariri made a passionate plea for the corporate world to partner in the association’s endeavours.
“One of our major challenges in growing the sport has been sponsorship, but there are promises from corporates, who want to associate their brands with a result-oriented brand such HMBA. We have had a lot of support from the Japanese embassy and from a Japanese agency which has donated equipment,” Mubariri said.
Zimbabwe is currently ranked third in Africa after the 2019 Olympic qualifiers hosted by South Africa in Boksburg.