SPORTS facilities remain important for the development, growth and success of the sector worldwide and for Zimbabwe it is one of the concerns that need to be addressed.
Most of the facilities in the country are in a dilapidated state, which has seen some sporting disciplines such as hockey and swimming relying on private facilities for most of their activities.
Issues of accessibility and affordability are also among the challenges athletes face, hindering their progress.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, early last year toured some of the Magamba Hockey Stadium, Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex as well as the National Sports Stadium, among other facilities.
Coventry expressed disappointment over their state and Magamba Hockey Stadium was more worrying as there is nothing much to be salvaged in terms of the astro-turfs.
This means there is a lot of work that needs to be done to resuscitate the facility and more resources will be needed.
The facilities that were under the Local Government and Public Works are being transferred to the Sport Ministry and the process, delayed by the Covid-19 challenges, is still ongoing.
So far renovations have been taking place at the National Sports Stadium after the country’s stadiums were banned from hosting international matches by the Confederation of African Football last year.
Hope is that the renovations will also spread to other facilities outside football.
Deputy director sport and recreation in the Ministry, Ignatius Vambe, said the revival of sporting facilities is one of their priorities after requesting for funding in their 2021 budget.
“What I can say is that as a department and as a Ministry on our 2021 budget we have done a request for funds for the refurbishment of those facilities.
“We have requested for funding for refurbishment because initially what the Minister did was that she toured all those facilities and she expressed her disappointment in the state of the facilities.
“So in this year’s budget we actually requested for funds although we are saying the funds that we were allocated might not be enough. But we requested for funds for renovations. So that definitely is a priority for those facilities, for Magamba and the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex.
“We were now aware that we are going to be running the facilities. So we actually requested for funding from treasury for the refurbishment of those facilities because we were arguing that we need to use them even for regional events, local events, even hosting international events.
“So it’s something that we are definitely planning on doing,” said Vambe.
Vambe acknowledged it will cost millions to undertake the process but emphasised the importance of taking the steps to rectifying the problem as the country continue to lose talent due to lack of proper facilities.
“If you look at Magamba it’s basically run down. So what we actually want to do is that we want to engage an evaluator, a professional who will then guide us on what is actually required in terms of that turf that is there and then the plumbing systems.