BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association (ZPGA) has paid tribute to prominent Harare businessman and philanthropist Alex “Dr Mash” Mashamhanda for his support for local sport following his sponsorship of the Mashwede Open Golf Classic tournament at Falcon last Saturday.
The Mashwede Open Golf Classic, which attracted a big field of professional and amateur golfers, was won by Davison Elijah after a nail-biting playoff against Tafara Mpofu.
The tournament was a welcome relief for local professional golfers who have endured a difficult year due to lack competition following the cancellation of several tournaments because of lack of sponsorship and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
ZPGA president Tongoona Charamba paid tribute to Mashamhanda for the financial support for the tournament through his Mashwede Holdings and former Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association president Themba Sibanda for facilitating the sponsorship.
“We are very grateful to Mashwede Holdings for their support of professional golf not just this time around, but over the years. We really cannot thank him enough, he has also been a strong supporter of golf in Zimbabwe over the years,” Charamba told Standardsport in an interview.
“A big thanks as well to Themba Sibanda, who facilitated the sponsorship and directing the event. To the home of golf “kuDande” Falcon, what an example you have set! It does not matter how small the membership of the club is, but it’s what you guys have at heart for professional golf. To the club trustee Mr Alex Mashamhanda and the chairman Dr Nick Munyonga, what a splendid job you’re doing at and for the club.”
Mashamhanda, whose sponsorship of the Mashwede Open Golf Classic over the years is the single biggest by an individual-owned indigenous company, said his support for local sport was motivated by the desire to give back to society.
“As a company, we have always felt that where we can, we should go out there and support the public. Obviously we do business with the public so ultimately whatever we have got is a product of the support, which we get from society. It doesn’t mean you go and support those whom you directly do business with but society in general,” he said.
Mashamhanda, who used to sponsor the M&H Under-17 football tournament a few years ago, said he was hopeful the sponsorship would provide a platform for local golfers to sharpen their skills as they seek to make an impact regionally and internationally.
Promising golfer Robson Chinhoi, who is a former member of Falcon Golf Club, recently won the Uganda Open in Kampala to enhance his position as the top player on the Safari Tour in East Africa.
“We are in a world where our kids have got to compete against other nations and we can only achieve that if we as the corporate world partner with government in making resources available so that we can develop their skills for them to compete for our flag,” he said.
“We have one of our youngsters, who won the Ugandan Open, but those things don’t just happen, someone behind the scenes invested in the skills of that youngster for him to end up with the results which he achieved recently to make the nation proud. It is the product of investment in developing the talent, so we come with the same approach that whenever we feel we can, we will support sport in general,” said Mashamhanda.