Grace Chingoma, Senior Sports Reporter
GOVERNMENT has stepped in to ensure there is funding for the Mighty Warriors ahead of the Africa Women Cup of Nations next month by setting up a fundraising steering committee comprising executives from the corporate sector.
The women’s soccer team, which recently took part at the Olympic Games for the first time, is expected to be back in business when they meet the elite of the continent’s women football between November 19 and December 5 in Cameroon.
The committee is expected to start work urgently. The Mighty Warriors are still to get into camp due to limited resources and with time running out, the government led by Minister of Sport Makhosini Hlongwane, has moved in to facilitate preparations for the team.
Yesterday, Hlongwane had a brief meeting with some executives of companies discussing ways on how to mobilise resources for the national team.
He also revealed at the same platform that the team requires $300 000 to cover all expenses from camping, preparations costs, air fares as well as allowances for the team.
After some deliberations on why the companies should partner the girl child, transparency of the funds, the guests also had some suggestions on how to raise the money within a short period of time.
Then it was resolved to have a working committee with coordinators who will initiate projects and fundraising programmes.
The fundraising committee with 10 people from different companies is going to be chaired by the leading financial institution Old Mutual Group Marketing executive Lilian Mbayiwa. She will be deputised by CBZ Holdings Senior Manager Group Marketing Joel Gombera.
Old Mutual is heavily involved with sponsoring sporting codes such as tennis and rugby with an ongoing development partnership with Zimbabwe Rugby Union which covers the Community Cup, the Under 13, Under 17 and Under 18 teams that take part in the annual South African youth tournaments – the Grant Khomo Week and Craven Week festivals as one of their biggest contribution to sport.
Old Mutual were the official sponsor of the Young Sables when Zimbabwe hosted the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in April this year.
However, the company has never really been involved with the most popular sport in the country, football.
CBZ Holdings are not new to partnering with football having in the past involved themselves the premier soccer league as the main sponsor.
The bank also once also sponsored CBZ FA Cup and the Warriors. They have also been involved with the cricket national team as well as rugby Africa Cup.
Other committee members are Zimplats Holdings Head of Corporate Affairs Busi Chindove, PricewaterhouseCoopers managing partner Tinashe Rwodzi, Telecel Public Relations Manager Francis Chimanda, Rainbow Tourism Group Corporate Communications and Innovations manager Pride Khumbula, Open Minds marketing consultant managing director Darren Thompson, PSMAS Account manager Moore Moyo, Zimpapers Public Relations and Corporate Affairs manager Beatrice Tonhodzayi Ngondo and S FM’s Darlington Mackenzie.
The meeting was also attended deputy governor of Reserve Bank Charity Dhliwayo, and representatives from other companies such as Nicoz Diamond Insurance, NetOne and MBCA bank among others.
The Minister, also going to sit in the committee promised the corporate world that the funds will be handled transparently and the presence of an accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers would ensure that the working committee and the ministry will be held responsible for all the transactions.
The Mberengwa East legislator acknowledged that usually the corporate world are reluctant to partner football due abuse of funds and bad publicity associated with the sport but said they will thrive to give mileage to the sponsors.
He said there is great value in supporting the girl child especially form the women leaders who have rose up the corporate ladder through perseverance which is also abundant in girl child athlete.
“Our sport seems to be rising in terms of profile on the back of successes of women that is true of hockey which is going to participate in Chile next month World Cup finals, that is true of netball which are champions on the African continent that is true of women’s football, following their qualification for the Olympics Games.
“There has been a sedentary approach in terms of resource mobilisation for women football. As a country there is need to support this successful team.
“The team is preparing for the Africa Women Cup of Nations and they require $300 000 to fulfil the Cameroon trip next month.
“With resources available the team is supposed to be in camp and playing some friendly matches. We wanted a scenario where they go and camp in Ghana a week before the tournament begins but all that can only happen when there is money,” said Hlongwane.