PRESIDENT MUGABE has proven to be a leader who is in touch with the goings-on in local sports. To mark the country’s 35th Independence Day The Sunday Mail sports desk has compiled 35 Gushungo Sports Quotes . . . enjoy.

\n

His Excellency RGM

His Excellency RGM

\n

1. On the future of cricket, March 1980

\n

“Cricket has not been popular with the Africans here and we will have to consider whether the game should die. We’ll take policy decisions, but obviously we’ll have to be realistic.”

\n

2. Construction of the National Sports Stadium – October, 1984

\n

“It is our sincere hope that Zimbabwean athletes and sportsmen and women will aspire to greater heights of dedication and commitment to sport to achieve excellent performance in various disciplines that will be catered for here and, true to the symbolism of Heroes Acre across the road, bring glory and honour to our country.”

\n

3. Speaking during the Fifa World Cup trophy tour in November 2009.

\n

“We are giving this World Cup the respect it deserves. But we must also qualify to play for it (in 2014) and Senator Coltart (former Minister of Education, Arts, Sports and Culture) the job is yours. Let’s support the youngsters.”

\n

4. At the commissioning of the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex – August 1995

\n

“They (facilities) should not be allowed to become white elephants.”

\n

5. On preparations for the All-Africa Games – August 1995

\n

“Everyone will want to see if we will be able to successfully host the event. For this reason, our preparations must be thorough.”

\n

6. Official opening of the 1995 All-Africa Games – September 1995

\n

“I declare the Sixth All-Africa Games open.”

\n

7. After Zimbabwe had successfully hosted the 1995 All-Africa Games

\n

“Better facilities should greatly enhance the development of professional sport and well managed recreational programmes.”

\n

8. When boxer Zvenyika Arifonso beat Briton Paul Weir to clinch the Commonwealth title in 1998

\n

“He knocked imperialism out of one imperialist.”

\n

9. Congratulating the Black brothers on their historic victory over Australia – April 1998

\n

“Our gallant sons have shown the world that we are one of the world’s finest powerhouses. I am also aware that there are many budding tennis stars throughout the country who are preparing to keep the tennis torch aglow.”

\n

10. Applauds junior golf team on qualification for the World Junior Championships – May 1998

\n

“It gives us great pleasure when our team from Zimbabwe is again among the participants at such a prestigious international junior golf tournament and we wish our team all the best of luck and success in the tournament.”

\n

11. After Zimbabwe’s impressive performance at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games – September 1998

\n

“Our success in Kuala Lumpur also demonstrated clearly that we have the talent to become a major sporting nation.”

\n

12. Hails the cricket squad for beating South Africa at the 1999 World Cup – May 1999

\n

“If we have tamed the hitherto unbeaten South Africa, we surely can now walk the cleared road to greater heights. Hearty congratulations to our gallant players. We wish them more victories in the Super Six, as we continue to celebrate the spectacular victory.”

\n

13. Congratulating Paralympics gold medallist Elliot Mujaji after the 2004 Olympic Games – October 2004

\n

“We want to say congratulations to you. We watched you on television and saw you win the race. Yes, we were with you, cheering you even though you could not hear us. We are proud of you.”

\n

14. After the 2006 African Nations Cup finals – February 2006

\n

“They (Warriors) won the Cosafa Cup and it was good. This time they qualified and it was very good watching them play . . . they have very high standards.

\n

“I think one of these days Africa might have a team that distinguishes itself and win the World Cup.”

\n

15. On Zifa – February 2006

\n

“Zifa continues to be in shambles. I don’t know whether we can get the right-minded people to constitute Zifa . . . it’s the management.”

\n

16. After Zimbabwe lost its bid to host the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations tournament – May 2006

\n

“Africa is big. There are 52 countries. Now that we have lost, wherever it is going to be held we should prepare adequately so that we will win there.”

\n

17. Demanding goals from the Warriors ahead of their 2010 World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifier against Namibia – June 2008

\n

“We wish you well. We want you to score always just like I do. When you play, I play as well. I play my football when I watch you play. Like I told Peter (Ndlovu) the other day. Where is Peter? He is not here? I told him if you are a striker and you miss I will have scored already.”

\n

18. Hailing Kirsty Coventry for winning three silver and one gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games

\n

“You have done well, daughter of Zimbabwe.

\n

“We wish you well in life. We should praise her. She is our golden girl. Take care of her.”

\n

19. At the ceremony to honour Comrades marathon winner Stephen Muzhingi in 2011

\n

“We refuse to fall, we refuse to be last and indeed, where our youngsters are, be it in sport, anything else.

\n

“We must gauge our children properly as they grow up. Some have talents in their muscles, they go that direction and their education must further the physical aptitudes. There is nobody who is absolutely useless.”

\n

20. After FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s historic visit to Zimbabwe – July 2011

\n

“It is a great visit from the most powerful man in football. We hope a bit of his power remains with us.”

\n

21. Honours the Under-19 rugby team for consistent performances – August 2011

\n

“Your victory perhaps was not publicised sufficiently and so you remain victors who are known to themselves, victors who remain unsung. We sing the songs of those who win soccer and others because the sport is so obvious, but I wonder why our rugby is not that obvious.”

\n

22. Speaking at the reception to welcome the 2011 SARPCO Games team that won 55 medals from DRC.

\n

“For someone to go to such a gruelling competition you have to be disciplined, but we are proud of what you have done (ZRP). I thank you for the sporting excellence.

\n

23. Revealed his European teams and also his love for soccer when he met African football stars who came for former Warriors skipper Benjani Mwaruwari’s testimonial match – 2012

\n

“Yes, I followed you and watched some of your games, but I am a Chelsea and Barcelona supporter and I always want them to score.”

\n

24. Hailed former Warriors skipper Benjani Mwaruwari for setting up a foundation – May 2012

\n

“By setting up a foundation, Benjani is offering tremendous, tremendous support to our national policies. It is not only Zifa that should be left with the training of players.

\n

“In fact, Zifa do not do much of the training; they concentrate on the administration of the game. So, it is the clubs that do most of the training.”

\n

25. On the same occasion

\n

“When I watch soccer, I do not want anyone to disturb me. Even my wife knows where to sit because while they are scoring in the field I will also be at home, kicking everything in front of me.

\n

“I have scored a lot of goals at my home, but I can only remember scoring once during the days, we played a lot of football as I grew up.”

\n

26. Advocated for a stand-alone sports ministry – 2012

\n

“Presently, sport falls under the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, but, in the future, we might have to establish an entire ministry of sport. I say so because there is so much love for soccer in the country.”

\n

27. Mourning Warriors legend Adam Ndlovu – December 2012

\n

“It was with a deep sense of shock and sadness that I learnt of the untimely death yesterday (Sunday) morning of one of our revered soccer legends, Adam Ndlovu, following a car accident near Victoria Falls International Airport.

\n

“I wish to condole with the Ndlovu family upon Adam’s passing on and to wish at the same time Peter’s speedy recovery from the injuries.”

\n

28. Speaking after the infamous Luis Suarez’s biting incident in 2013

\n

“Contests come at various levels. We have these contests – Dynamos versus Highlanders . . . those are contests at lower levels. They must train our participants to recognise the reality of sport. Sport is sport. It is not war.”

\n

29. Questioned Government support for sport when he handed over a $110 000 winners’ cheque to Dynamos after they won the Bob 89 Super Cup.

\n

“I don’t know where we fail in competitions, be it the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup. Let us also build our soccer because when I looked at their standards in South Africa, I didn’t see much difference.

\n

“We could have played much better than them. The Government seems not to be doing much in supporting soccer. In other countries, the government helps.”

\n

30. At the same ceremony speaks on his love for Zimbabwean football teams

\n

“I do not belong to any single team, I support good play and I feel that our soccer should raise itself to a slightly higher level,” said the President while handing over the Bob 89 Super Cup to Dynamos in 2013.

\n

31. When Zimbabwe beat Pakistan in a cricket Test match in 2013

\n

“This year saw us beating South Africa (in and international football friendly match). It is also the first time we manage to beat Pakistan in a Test match,” he said.

\n

32. Teased former Warriors ’keeper Maxwell Nyamupanedengu at a rally in Norton in July 2013

\n

“Bhora ririkupinda mugedhi here? Haa, kwete kuita semaWarriors akamwiswa zviviri. Zviviri, haiwa referee hapana zvaakambotadza akanga asiri mapenalties futi, just spot kicks dzakaitwa two.

\n

“Bhora rinorohwa kubva kure-kure, aha, ndakati goalkeeper wedu akaita sei? Asi arikuregerera kuti havazvione? Achiri wedu here kana kuti dzimwe nguva zvakamukanganisawo hatingangoshore imi woye. Hatidi kupotsa gedhi. Hatipotse,” he said.

\n

33. Speaking at the Region V Games torch lighting ceremony in September 2013.

\n

“We (Zimbabweans) have to score goals. A goal is not in our own nets. My boy supports CAPS, but his team always scores in its own net.”

\n

34. At the opening ceremony for the 2014 Region 5 Under-20 Youths Games in Bulawayo

\n

“The games have therefore brought numerous business opportunities for local entrepreneurs. They have also created employment opportunities for our people in Bulawayo and those from surrounding areas and from even far afield.”

\n

35. At the same ceremony

\n

“I wish to implore all youths to always abstain from taking drugs and other intoxicating substances. I urge them to adhere to the safe and clear sport ethics as enshrined in the Anti-Doping Code.”