HomeEditorialsMliswa, Matangaidze, criticise constructively

Mliswa, Matangaidze, criticise constructively


“Sport has the power to change the world . . . it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” Nelson Mandela

NewsDay Editorial

These are the words of the elder statesman, the revered icon of world peace who passed on last Thursday in South Africa.

Sport has united many a nation across the globe and has been used by sporting icons to promote peace. It has stopped people from pointing fingers at each other and taught them to focus on the positives they can draw from whatever situation.

Various governments have also taken advantage of the power of sport to unify their various tribes and races. Sport has ensured that personality cults should not be a barrier to unity and peace; instead, it has drawn foes together.

Unfortunately in Zimbabwe sport does the exact opposite. It divides the country; it creates hatred among men, sporting organisations, chiefly football clubs, its followers and those that administer it.

We have seen the emergence of the likes of Tapiwanashe Matangaidze and Temba Mliswa in the House of Assembly taking cheap shots at Zifa and how sport, in general, is administered in the country. No doubt, Zifa has done a shoddy job in running the game, and it did not start with this administration — it has always been like that and eventually culminated in match-fixing scandals.

What the nation wants to hear from Matangaidze and Mliswa is not how Zifa is running football, but how they intend to support the growth of sport in the country by engaging Sports minister Andrew Langa and telling him that the sport, at national level, needs to be serviced by government.

We have already heard Mliswa questioning why the Region 5 Development Games set for December 2014 are being staged in Bulawayo and not Harare. Next, he will be saying the National Youth Games must not rotate among provinces.

Soon, he will be questioning why the Warriors played Mozambique at Barbourfields on Sunday instead of Rufaro, instead of advocating for various municipalities to improve their stadia so that they can host the national team.

Matangaidze and Mliswa, instead of preaching a credible Zifa poll next year, must know that everywhere across the world, governments fund national teams and do not unnecessarily interfere in the electoral processes and running of sporting associations.

Where was Matangaidze and Mliswa when Premier Soccer League club FC Platinum came to the rescue of the Young Warriors by funding a two-week training camp in Zvishavane? Is the pair not ashamed that the Young Warriors do not even have a proper kit in Lesotho? If they have real interest of the sport and the nation, they must first look at what they can do for football and not what football can do for them.

We need to think alike, engage positively, move forward in one direction and realise that while sport can ultimately divide, its power to unite is also immense.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean,” so said Japanese writer Ryunosuke Satoro.

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