Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE advent of the new dispensation under President Mnangagwa breathed life into the sports sector, as the First Citizen takes time from his busy schedule to host sports institutions and personalities to hear their pleas.
The President hosted the country’s biggest football teams Highlanders and Dynamos at State House where he was informed about the two teams’ perennial financial struggles and promised to look into them.
Highlanders were given a mining claim in Inyathi to help ease their financial burdens, although work is yet to start.
Yesterday, both teams signed a life-changing sponsorship deal with energy company Sakunda, which has been very active in corporate social responsibility initiatives during the Second Republic.
Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) mixed martial arts champion and Zimbabwe’s Sportsman of the Year, Themba Gorimbo paid a courtesy call on the President in June after defending his welterweight title by defeating Lyle Karam in Pretoria, South Africa.
The President described Gorimbo as a true inspiration to all Zimbabweans for flying the country’s flag high.
President Mnangagwa rewarded champion boxer Charles Manyuchi with a US$10 000 present following his defence of the WBF middleweight title.
Manyuchi beat Ugandan Mahommed Sebyala on unanimous points decision in Masvingo.
As President Mnangagwa celebrates his 79th birthday today, the sports industry has hailed him for his unequivocal support of the sector, which has the potential to contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Congratulating President Mnangagwa on his 79th birthday, former Zifa vice-president and a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Omega Sibanda said the President demonstrated his will to turnaround the sports industry by appointing decorated Olympian Kirsty Coventry to lead the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Ministry.
“Happy birthday to my President uBaba Mnangagwa. Under his leadership in the new dispensation, he has laid out a clear vision for 2030 and the present success stories in the country define where we’re going. The appointment of a sports personality in Kirsty Coventry to lead the Sports Ministry shows how a visionary leader President Mnangagwa is in pursuant of vision 2030. The global Covid-19 delayed the growth of the sports industry,” said Sibanda.
He challenged sports administrators to emulate President Mnangagwa’s hard work to achieve success.
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Tawengwa Mukuhlani said they are grateful to the support they have got from the government under President Mnangagwa.
“We have had amazing success stories in terms of international activities that we’ve held since President Mnangagwa came into office. The support we’ve received from his Government has been amazing.
“In 2018, we hosted the ICC World Cup qualifiers, a second major international event after the 2003 World Cup.
We’ve hosted the women’s Africa Region World Cup qualifiers and in November we hosted the women’s World Cup qualifiers, with America sending their team. All this has been possible because of the support of President Mnangagwa’s Government,” said Mukuhlani.
The ZC supremo said they will host the men’s World Cup qualifiers in 2023 and are working on a 2027 joint World Cup bid with South Africa and Namibia. — @ZililoR