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HLONGWANE’S MINISTRY HAS TO JUSTIFY ITS EXISTENCE

ON September 17 2015, the Zimbabwe sports family was sent into celebration after it was announced that sport would have its own stand-alone ministry — the Ministry of Sport and Recreation.

Sport had over the past 35 years lived in the shadows of the Ministry of Sport and Culture, the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, and the Ministry of Sports, Arts, and Culture.

More importantly was the appointment of a young and energetic minister in the form of Makhosini Hlongwane to steer the ship that had been wandering in troubled waters for some time.

Hlongwane himself did not take time, meeting all the sporting associations and making promises aplenty.

To the sportspersons and administrators, this development represented milk and honey and they — for the first time —foresaw money percolating to those sporting disciplines that needed it.

However, 10 months down the line, there has not been any noticeable change between the old ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, and the new ministry of Sport and Recreation, as sport has not benefitted anything yet from this new Sports ministry.

Right now, the 2016 Olympic Games-bound Mighty Warriors are stuck in Bindura with no cent to play international matches to prepare themselves for those tough duels against Germany, Australia and Canada.

Olympic-bound marathon runners Wirimai Juwao and Cuthbert Nyasango are stuck at home when other participants in the world are preparing.
It is not a secret that the Zimbabwe Football Association does not have any money and even in the next 20 or 30 years, they will still have a minus bank balance.

The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee has come out in the open revealing that the funds they had set aside for the Olympic Games preparations have been exhausted. So this leaves the ministry as the only source of hope.

It would not require $200 000 for the Mighty Warriors to play four top-notch friendly matches against Nigeria, Ghana, the Equatorial Guinea as well as South Africa and for Juwao and Nyasango to take part in the remaining marathon events. Can the ministry come to the rescue?

However, a closer look at the 10 months that this sports ministry has been in existence raises another question: Does this ministry have a budget allocation in the national budget? Events on the ground seem to suggest otherwise. However, this is the time for the ministry to justify its existence.

On Monday, July 11, many could not wake up as they usually do after realising that the money they had borrowed promising to pay back the next morning after a France win in the Euro 2016 Cup final had gone down the drain.

The manner in which they spoke about Antoine Griezmann, Dimitiri Payet and Paul Pogba before the game commenced seemed to suggest that this French side was a team from Mars or another planet and so could not be beaten.

Forgotten, however, was the fact that a football is round and so it can roll in any direction.

Also forgotten was the fact that there are no longer overwhelming favourites in any game nor small teams anymore in world football.

That is the reason why Nigeria and South Africa will not be at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations when the so-called small teams like Guinea Bissau and the Warriors of Zimbabwe will be at the 16-team gathering.

So, for those who placed their bets on France, it was an investment lost. Football is a crazy game.

 For comments, views and suggestions, email mkariati@gmail.com or WhatsApp on 0773 266 779.

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