By Fungai Lupande
Mashonaland Central provincial administrator Mr Cosmos Chiringa has bemoaned lack of interest by the leadership and private companies to assist in sporting activities in the province, amidst frantic efforts to raise funding for this year’s national youth and paralympic games.
The sports and recreation management committee has no money in its coffers save for maize and a few groceries from committee members, yet the games are set to start on Wednesday.
About $56 000 is needed for the affiliation fees of 786 athletes expected to participate in the games in two groups of 300 from the under 13 and under 18, 486 from the under 23 and open Paralympics.
“We need to rope in the leadership and companies in the province to support sports,” said Mr Chiringa.
“For the past three years it has always been a struggle for the province to send athletes to these games compared to other provinces.
“Committees are working flat out to raise money. We are struggling yet we have big mines like Mazowe, Ashanti, Trojan and Shamva and our province is a well-known agriculture powerhouse why should we fail to support our children to participate in sporting activities.
“We cannot send our children to Midlands empty-handed and rely on other provinces to feed them.
“They need to eat and there are overhead expenses like electricity and water to be met. I want to make sure that the province is well-represented at this year’s youth games.
“I am appealing to the leadership and private sector in the province to contribute. We wrote to them, but they have not been forthcoming.”
Chairperson of the organising committee Mrs Tsitsi Muzuva said all the teams were in place and the first group will leave on August 13 and camp for one day due to resources constraints.
“Camping must be at least three to four days to allow athletes to familiarise with the environment, but without resources we reduced camping to one day,” she said.
“Some schools pledged to pay affiliation fees for some of their athletes, but others cannot afford. We are concerned that the provincial sports and recreation management committee has not been functional despite numerous calls to attend to meetings.”
Provincial sports and recreation officer Mr Samuel Mashatise said the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation was not supporting provinces this year because the $100 000 grant they received is not enough to support the host province.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Cde Kazembe Kazembe said he needed to find out about the issue before commenting.