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Minister embarrassed by Young Warriors kit

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DEPUTY Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga said national teams should be well kitted whenever they compete in international games.

BY HENRY MHARA

Speaking at a function at Zifa Village in Harare yesterday where she had gone to meet the national Under 15 women football team who are in camp, Kanengoni-Malinga said she felt embarrassed when she heard that the Young Warriors, who are competing at the ongoing Cosafa Youth Championships in Maseru, had only one kit.

The Under-15 women football team, the first of its kind in women football in the country, are in camp to prepare for the African Youth Championships set for Botswana next year.

“I was really embarrassed when I read in the NewsDay that our team at the Cosafa Under-20 championships has just one set of jerseys. As an individual I was actually unaware until the media brought it forward. Our teams should have all the equipment when they go out there to compete, be it kits, the boots and all the resources to travel. As government we know that we might not be able to meet all the needs of the athletes, but we are trying to think outside the box,” said Malinga.

“We want to encourage the building of infrastructure that can compete at an international level so that when our athletes compete at the international level they won’t get shocked with what they would be seeing. We want to have those structures here. We have the capacity and ability to do that. We always boast of our resources, the gold, the platinum and the diamonds. We want that to benefit sports especially on infrastructure,” she added.

Malinga said one of her major objectives is to correct issues of gender balance in the sport.

“It’s really important for us as a ministry to support the girl child, to help create the space where a girl child can compete competitively on an equal play with the boys. Where the girl child is not discriminated or looked down upon, this is where I am interested in. I am interested in gender balance not only in football, but in sport in general. We want to prove that having a standalone ministry of sport was not a mistake, but for us to make the ministry work we have to be on the ground, at the grassroots level to see those who are involved, to speak to them and understand where they are coming from. That way we can be aware of their needs and how we can give support.”

Malinga, who initiated the visit to the Zifa Village, had a casual interaction with the team, including having lunch with the girls.

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