By Darlington Gatsi
MINISTER of Sports Arts and Culture, Kirsty Coventry, Thursday pleaded with the treasury for funding towards the development of sporting infrastructure coming short of blatantly challenging the government to invest in sports.
This comes as the country is saddled with dilapidated sporting infrastructure which has been left to rot due to neglect by local and central government.
The lack of proper infrastructure has left Zimbabwe football teams facing the grim reality of hosting international games outside the country, arguably a low in the country’s sporting history.
In a report to the members of parliament at the ongoing 2024 pre-budget seminar, Kirsty Coventry said the treasury should avail grants towards infrastructure refurbishment.
“It is now time the nation should embark on or seriously consider significant investment in Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture for sustainable national development, pride, peace and security.
“The sectors will never be the same again once the sport, recreation, arts and culture are afforded the requisite resources which include, appropriate workspaces, finances (working capital, concessionary loans and grants), machinery, equipment, land and skills,” read Kirsty Coventry’s report.
Annually, Minister of Finance Mthuli allocates funding to the Sports Ministry for infrastructure development which has been argued to be paltry.
Government-owned National Sports Stadium was flagged by FIFA and Coventry’s assurances of refurbishing it to meet international standards have not been fruitful.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on Sports Arts and Culture recommended that attention be turned towards the National Sports Stadium and Magamba hockey field in its vicinity.
Coventry suggested a blueprint to turn around the country’s infrastructure.
“It is proposed that should resources permit, additional funding should be provided to these sectors either in the form of concessionary loans and or grants.
“In addition, funding for capital expenditure in respect of public sector investment programs (PSIP) and Ministry operations – for mobility including office furniture and equipment for district offices should be considered a priority for meaningful service delivery,” added Coventry.