HomeSportHow to shame a nation

How to shame a nation

THE worst tragedy, when you think about it, is that the two greatest examples of incompetence in Zimbabwean sports administration in 2017 has come at a price to the Zambians, our good neighbour and old foe on the sporting arena.
We should be hanging our heads on shame.

Sports Panorama with Enock Muchinjo

Rugby fans in this country will remember the disgraceful incident earlier this year when members of three Zambian teams had to sleep on the floor of a dingy Harare hotel after the host, the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU), slept on the job and failed to secure decent accommodation for the visitors in time.

In fact, as the main game between the senior national teams was being played under the dim Harare Sports Club floodlights, desperate ZRU officials were still making frantic efforts to confirm bookings with hotels, who were refusing to make reservations without payment guarantee.

The main match itself symbolised the shambolic events of the day.

The cocktail of errors by the ZRU was just beyond belief. Consider, for instance, that the ZRU had not even bothered that national anthems should be played, for an internationally-sanctioned friendly match!

As if that was not quite embarrassing enough, the pitch, which was in terrible shape, had no marks and there was no one manning the scoreboard, so fans who braved the chilly weather left without knowing the final scoreline.

While maladministration and incompetency in Zimbabwean sports is well-documented, we had reached a peak this time around.

Thanks to that episode, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) reacted by sacking the blundering ZRU executive — a development which has led to where we are now, an exciting and dynamic ZRU leadership, of which I personally have so much faith.

But as if not to be undone, our ever clumsy football federation, Zifa, has also taken the art of blundering to unprecedented new levels.

So this week Zifa told us that the international friendly with Zambia, which was scheduled for Friday, had been cancelled because it clashed with a wedding at the venue, the National Sports Club in Harare.

Now, that is utterly ridiculous and absurd, of course, given that even Morris Depot would have been a suitable venue for a game of so little public interest.

But by even trying to debate whether we have sufficient stadia or not in this country to host a game of that size, we run the risk dignifying that pathetic line by Zifa.

We probably all know what the issue is: Zifa does not have funds at this point in time to stage such a game — a game whose initial purpose, to mark new President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendancy, had been roundly condemned by all rightful thinking citizens and seen as a desperate move by the federation to curry favour with the new political dispensation.

What leaves a bitter taste in the mouth is that the guys at Zifa can see it fit to humiliate the nation by giving an impression to the outside world, in a whole official press statement, that this country only has one ground fit to host a friendly match of little significance.

How thoughtless. Even by their standards, this is a new low.

It is a big shame that while Zimbabwean footballers continue to punch above their weight across the world, the sobering reality is that this sport the highest national level has never really had the kind of competent and clearheaded administrators is deserves.

One cannot help but wonder how much more football in this country could have potentially achieved, had it actually been able to be run by people gifted in sports management and sober minds.

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