Kirsty Coventry bemoans derelict local sports facilities

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry has hinted that she will soon take action on the current state of local sporting facilities which are now in a dilapidated state due to neglect by local authorities.

The former Olympic gold medallist, who is now the country’s Minister of Youth, Arts, Sport and Culture Kirsty Coventry revealed this after a recent tour of Magamba and Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex.

The two facilities which were both constructed ahead of the 1994 All Africa Games held in the country are in a bad state while other facilities such as the National Sports Stadium and Rufaro Stadium were both condemned from hosting international matches by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Rufaro Stadium is owned by the Harare City Council, who also own the now disused Gwanzura Stadium and the City Sports Center.

Coventry posted pictures of the now rundown once world class facilities before expressing her disappointment and hinted that she would be taking action.

“What a waste,” Coventry said.

“World class facilities in Zimbabwe that have gone to ruin. Our National Sports Stadium has been condemned by FIFA and by CAF. These are only pictures from Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex and Magamba hockey stadium but it’s the same story throughout our country.”

The seven-time Olympic swimmer, who is also Africa’s most successful female swimmer, recalled how she used the facilities in the late 1990s when they were in good shape.

“I was a kid who volunteered during the 1995 All Africa Games in Harare and competed in this pool. To think that we could have had world class swimmers from Chitungwiza…would have been amazing…but is still possible if we act now! Time to change this and bring back our national pride. More information soon,” Coventry said.

Coventry’s ministry is reportedly pushing to have a stake in the management and control of Government-owned sporting facilities as a panacea to the neglect which has turned most sporting facilities into white elephants.

Venues such as the National Sports Stadium, Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex and Magamba Hockey Stadium are under the management of the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.

In the past the use of local sporting facilities have been scenes of clashes between sport and other non-sporting events like music concerts, political rallies and religious gatherings.

Shockingly in some cases sports events have been disrupted to pave way for the non-sporting events, which at times have been getting priority ahead of local teams and athletes because they usually pay more for hiring the venue.

Last year Coventry revealed that she was pushing for her ministry to have a bigger say in the management and control of the government owned facilities and her office was preparing a concept paper to be tabled before Cabinet following discussions with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.