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Second Republic walks the talk on sport

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By Lovemore Boora 

THE Second Republic has thrown its weight behind the Sport and Recreation Club System which seeks to tap raw talent from across the country. 

This was said by President Emmerson Mnangagwa during the 44th Independence Anniversary commemorations at Murambinda B High School while saluting the gallant heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle. 

His remarks were greeted with wild applause by the thousands of people drawn from the country’s 10 provinces who travelled to Buhera, the citadel of many a battle during the protracted war of liberation. 

The Constitution of Zimbabwe mandates the State to encourage sporting and recreational activities, including the provision of sport and recreation facilities for all and, as such, the Second Republic is leaving no stone unturned in support of the Sport and Recreation Club System. 

The role of the Sport and Recreation Club System Programme is to tap raw talent from all communities across the country, including the marginalised areas. Its overall goal is to enhance sports participation across all age groups and ultimately improve performance at national and international level. 

“Fellow Zimbabweans, independence opened an array of opportunities for our young people to showcase their talent in sport, recreation, arts and culture. 

“It is, therefore, commendable that Zimbabweans are participating with distinction, in various regional, continental and international events which essentially enhances our national brand . . . 

“Through the implementation of the Community Sport and Recreation Club System, we are increasing support to sport and recreation across all ages,” said President Mnangagwa. 

In line with Government policy, the football mother body, ZIFA, is going around the country re-establishing junior leagues in areas where they previously existed or starting new ones altogether. 

To this end, ZIFA is donating kits, pressure pumps, soccer balls and training bibs. So far, they have been to Matabeleland North and Mashonaland West. 

However, ZIFA are not alone. 

The Zimbabwe Netball Association has also joined the fray. During the Under-22 team selection, the association invited girls from all the country’s 10 provinces for trials in line with the Government thrust and up to 150 girls turned up. 

The Community Sport and Recreation Club System is obviously bearing fruit, if recent results are anything to go by. For example, the Zimbabwe Under-15 national soccer team, selected from various communities, fared well in the last COSAFA CAF schools tournament. 

In rugby, the Zimbabwe U-20 team lifted the Barthes Trophy last year while the Lady Chevrons made history by winning the gold medal in the Africa Games hosted in Accra, Ghana, last month. 

The President also applauded private players who were complementing Government initiatives by building state-of-the-art sporting facilities as well as partnering with clubs and sponsoring various sporting disciplines and national teams. 

Petroleum giant Sakunda Holdings has partnered with traditional soccer giants Dynamos and Highlanders, thereby helping ease the clubs’ financial woes. 

Man of the cloth Prophet Walter Magaya, an ardent soccer fan himself, is the driving force behind the construction of the multi-million-dollar Heart Stadium in Waterfalls, Harare, which was recently commissioned by President Mnangagwa. 

In line with President Mnangagwa’s mantra of leaving no-one and no place behind, Shamva’s Wadzanai Stadium and Gweru’s Bata Stadium were recently upgraded. 

In its quest to promote national unity, devolution and decentralisation, the Government has constructed stadiums in places that have hosted the independence commemorations. 

Last year, it was Mupfure Stadium in Mt Darwin. This year it is the 20-000 seater Uhera Stadium at Murambinda B High School in Buhera. 

This is clear testimony that the Second Republic is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to ensure increased participation by all Zimbabweans in physical activities and sport as enshrined in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). 

The President also appealed to stakeholders in the sports and recreation sector to join Government in the fight against drug and substance abuse. 

“I urge communities and institutions to play their part in the fight against drug and substance abuse. We all must protect our freedom, independence and sovereignty by deliberately protecting the young people of our great country,” said President Mnangagwa. 

As per tradition, the cherry on the 44th Independence Anniversary celebrations’ cake was the long-awaited clash between perennial arch-rivals Dynamos and Highlanders for the Uhuru Cup. 

This was supposed to be a friendly match, at least on paper. But, in reality, it was a no-quarter-asked-for-and-no-quarter-given affair. 

Dynamos’ Donald Mudadi scored the solitary goal in the second minute and it was all DeMbare needed to pocket US$25 000 while Bosso took home US$15 000. 

Despite Bosso dominating the game, the Dynamos’ defence stood their ground, putting an end to the Bulawayo-based giants’ three-year stranglehold on the annual football fiesta. 

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