Grace Chingoma Sports Reporter
SPORT, Arts and Culture Minister Andrew Langa has revealed plans to consult widely before acting on the damning report on the state of football which was presented by the Sport and Recreation Commission’s task-force.
Langa said he was studying the report and would also consult officials in his ministry before announcing his plan of action.
The minister directed the Sports Commission to probe the goings-on in football in the wake of a nationwide outcry on the problems haunting the country’s biggest sport.
Langa, speaking at a Press conference to update the nation on the state of preparedness of Team Zimbabwe to the African Games in Congo Brazzaville, said he had received the report compiled by a probe team led by Obadiah Moyo.
“My office received a report from the investigating committee of the SRC last Friday. I have that report as we speak now on my desk, and I am discussing the report with my fellow colleagues in the Ministry.
“I will also consult widely before we take a decision with regards to that report. Yes, I have received the report,’’ Langa said.
Langa also reiterated his and the country’s disappointment with Zimbabwe’s expulsion from the World Cup following ZIFA’s failure to settle a debt to Brazilian coach Valinhos.
“As the Minister of Sports and also as a Zimbabwean I would have loved that we participate in all sporting events worldwide, where we are able to do so, and the fact that we were let down by ZIFA, the fact that we failed to pay our obligations to Valinhos, to an extent that we were expelled from the WC is honestly a disappointment, not only to myself alone but to all Zimbabweans.
“That’s the reason why I mandated the SRC through a task-force to investigate our football in Zimbabwe and this is what they have done and made their recommendations which we can’t discuss now, we will discuss them when the time comes, but otherwise I have the report before me,” he said.
Langa, could also not be drawn into discussing whether he would also table the report before Cabinet.
“We have procedures as ministers on what to take to cabinet and what not to take to cabinet and we also have procedures where we may need to consult a Principal on his own before we make any decision so this is a two way process, that is why I said I will consult widely so that we take the right decision, but otherwise this calls for all Zimbabweans to come together and ensure that we speak with one voice in terms of building our football in Zimbabwe,” said Langa.
The Minister, however said, he was happy that the Government had availed funds for the Games despite economic challenges the country is currently facing.
“It is also interesting to note that we shall be sending a delegation of 109 which is made up of athletes, the officials and also people from the sports medicine.
“The budget for these Games initially was $600 000, but after presentation to the Ministry of Finance it was trimmed to $450 000.
“I am happy to announce the first tranche of $300 000 was received last week, and we have since received the second tranche of $150 000 as we speak now.
“What it means is our Treasury has committed US$450 000 for these important games,” he said.
Zimbabwean athletes would be participating in eleven sporting codes from the 22 codes that are available at the Pan-African Games.
Our athletes will compete in athletics, cycling, gymnastics, volleyball (beach), judo, football (Under-23 men), karate, sports for disabled, swimming, taekwondo and tennis.
“We failed to qualify for the women’s football, we also failed to qualify for the volleyball. Yes, we may have qualified for the rugby but we were withdrawn on the program on the last minute.
“We failed to qualify for the basketball. We also failed to qualify because we didn’t prepare for the badminton. Netball was dropped by the African Games people in charge of preparations because of the factionalism politics which is up there.
“We also failed to submit, our candidates for the boxing, because they wanted the amateurs. If they wanted people like Manyuchi (Charles), certainly, we would have sent him there.
“Our strategy as a country is to win and obviously bring some gold medals to Zimbabwe. I am happy to say in terms of the logistics we are almost ready.
“Our team is ready to go and raise our flag in Congo Brazzaville. We will try also as a Ministry to ensure that our team Zimbabwe is well motivated so that they bring us the important medals.
“These Games in fact starting from the Region 5 are much more important because they enable our athletes to interact and participate with other nations and by so doing learn quiet a lot from other athletes,” Langa said.
Chef de Mission Joseph Muchechetere said they are still finalising on the travelling arrangements and are also looking at how best they can reward athletes who would have been outstanding at The Games.
“We are still working on the two options but we are almost finalising, charter one option and commercial flight another option. We are finalising this evening the travel arrangement.
“Currently, we are working within the budget as provided by Government. If we are lucky to also get a sponsor and a partner then we can also go on that option.
“We have put in place some incentives to motivate our athletes, obviously, it’s a requirement that everyone who goes out on national duty should also get some out of pocket allowance and over and above that we are still discussing the quantum of the incentives, say, if an athlete gets a gold medal.
“These are details we are still working on working in line with the budget provided by the Government,” said Muchechetere.
Team Zimbabwe local based athletes are expected to get into camp on Saturday and fly out to Brazzaville on Monday while those from outside the country are expected to fly directly to the Central African country.
Langa said they were also still bidding to present the team either to President Robert Mugabe or his two Vice-Presidents before departure.