Private sector must support local sports, says Mnangagwa

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

LOCAL private sector companies should sponsor various sporting disciplines as this helps home-grown athletes to be competitive at a higher level, President Emerson Mnangagwa said.

He said this in Harare Friday while responding to questions from Zimbabwean youths from all country’s ten provinces who attend the inaugural Youth Indaba.

The Indaba was organised by Sports and Youth Minister Kirsty Coventry.

“I think it is necessary, in my view that government should do more in supporting sports,” Mnangagwa said to youths who wanted to know why government was not putting enough effort in supporting local athletes.

“Now in other countries, the private sector supports sports in a huge way. In Zimbabwe, this has not happened to that extent. But I believe that through my Minister (Kirsty Coventry) here, she should be able to punch the Minister of Finance to support more and more this sector so that we have functional sports academies for various disciplines financed by the state. Then we become competitive.

“But I think it is also necessary that our private sector supports various sporting disciplines. I don’t know how this could be done, how they should be persuaded to support sports because it gives the nation a health workforce.”

The President said it was not fair that local sportspersons were finding themselves losing in highly competitive events because of lack of support.

“Currently, we have our young people competing with colleagues from jurisdiction or countries where sport is heavily supported and they have the best facilities at their disposal to train and so on which we don’t have here. So that’s a disadvantage,” he said.

“I have known on a number of occasions where our teams wanting to go outside on the 11th hour they don’t have funding to travel, they don’t have enough financial support even during preparations.

“I understand sometimes they don’t have enough support to do preparations. This must come to an end.”