Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) remains optimistic that the International Olympafrica Foundation will again offer the country the US$500 000 for the construction of the Epworth Olympafrica Centre that it withdrew some years back due to bungling by the Epworth Local Board.
The foundation withdrew US$150 000 of the US$500 000 that it had initially released for the project in 2014 after the local board allegedly sold the land on which the centre was to be built to desperate home seekers.
The local board is still struggling to relocate the settlers. ZOC chief executive Mrs Anna Mguni said her organisation was hoping that the country would be reconsidered for funding in 2021.
“The idea of constructing the Epworth Olympicafrica Centre was closed,” she said.
“Any consideration will only be undertaken during the next Olympic Quadrennial Cycle from 2021 to 2024.”
Recently, Epworth Local Board chief executive Mr Wilton Mhanda said plans were in the pipeline to clear the land reserved for the construction of the centre.
“Our position still remains that we want to build that centre soon,” he said. “We had challenges in the past in removing the people, but we are making efforts to ensure that all of them relocate elsewhere. We re-allocated over 200 people to another piece of land, but there are others who settled there later.”
Mr Mhanda said within the next two months, they would have prepared another piece of land where they will allocate the remaining settlers. When Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry toured Epworth in May, she proposed that construction of the centre go ahead.
The first Olympafrica Centre in Africa was built in Senegal in 1992 and this was followed by the creation of the Olympafrica Foundation in 1993.
Such models are in existence in over 35 countries all over Africa and the Epworth project was set to be the first in Zimbabwe.