Govt scuttles hockey grant

By Enock Muchinjo

LACK of government support is hampering the release of a grant from the International Hockey Federation to Zimbabwe meant for stadium renovations.



na, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Hockey Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) president Custom Kachambwa this week told IndependentSport that his association had been promised funds by the IHF to repair Magamba and Khumalo stadiums in Harare and Bulawayo respectively.


However, in order for the grant to be released the government has to make an undertaking to meet half the costs of the renovations.


“We have been waiting for that money for two years now and we will not get it if there is no government commitment on our side. However, it seems that the main problem is the unavailability of foreign currency of which I have already suggested that we use local currency as an alternative,” Kachambwa said.


Last week different national sports associations were invited by officials from the President’s Office to discuss issues of deteriorating sporting facilities. Officials from the ministries of Local Government and Education together with the Sports and Recreation Commission resolved to sign a memorandum of understanding on the how to carry out the renovation work. The Ministry of Local Government administers sports facilities like Magamba and the National Sports Stadium, on behalf of the government.


“We only hope that this memorandum of understanding will bear the desired results and that people will not sit on it,” said Kachambwa.


The bad conditions of the turf, floodlights and drainage system at the Magamba and Khumalo stadiums have rendered the hockey facilities white elephants since Zimbabwe hosted the All-Africa Games in 1995. The poor conditions have severely dampened morale among hockey clubs, who in the past season did not fulfil some of their fixtures and were eventually forced to abandon the rest of the season’s matches.


Meanwhile, HAZ is talking to a former South African hockey international in an effort to engage him as the coach in overall charge of all the national representative sides.


“We need a highly qualified coach with a vast knowledge of the game, to coach our sides for a period and mould them for the next All-Africa Games in 2007 and the next Olympic Games qualifiers,” Kachambwa said


“We have unique talent in this country, as shown by the girls team which scooped a silver medal at the All-Africa Cup Junior tournament in South Africa. We have made a resolution to send that team down to South Africa as often as possible, so that the team stays intact and becomes more competitive.”

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