Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa met the Warriors for lunch yesterday ahead of their 2014 African Nations Championships (Chan) finals that begin in South Africa on January 11.
His mission was simply to assure the national football team that the government would not let them “suffer” down south during the finals as what happened during the 2011 finals in Sudan where the performance of the team was affected by non-payment of winning bonuses, allowances and appearance fees.
Consequently, his ministry yesterday released at least
$88 000. This will stabilise the Warriors camp for now at the same time assuring players and the technical team that the government is doing something. We believe this will spur the corporate sector into supporting the Warriors. It is also our firm belief that Langa will stick to his word and release the rest of the money as the tournament progresses.
A budget of $354 000 has been presented to Langa and we believe this is a figure that can be harnessed from various sources when the country raised $500 000 last year for that one fateful match against Angola that saw Zimbabwe being booted out of the Africa Cup of Nations after losing 2-0 despite having won the first leg 3-1 at Rufaro.
Then, honestly, things were a lot better in Zimbabwe than they are now. The country is worse off now; there is just no cash lying about and civil servants cannot even dream of a salary increment in January. Understandably, this makes the situation even tougher for Langa and company.
However, that is no excuse at all.
Coach Ian Gorowa cannot be buying food for the national team, unless we have redefined the word “national”.
A community football club like FC Platinum cannot be allowed to host a national team for two weeks. A national team cannot wear a kit bought from a sports shop. No!
We have our sovereignty to protect, national pride and that means doing the little things right.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube cannot be allowed to claim paying Gorowa, salaries at the national association and provincial offices from his pocket.
Anyway, where does he get that much money, if we may ask? Isn’t this corruption in itself? No?
Langa, that is not the way to go; this is not how sport is run around the world.Sport is an industry that must employ thousands of people across the country and it needs the support of government to reach its full potential.
While Langa’s visit is welcome, show the Warriors the way to go. Then you can proceed and demand a return from your investment. We are also calling upon the corporate world to assist.
We know the game has been tainted by corruption and match-fixing scandals among others, but that is now history, players and officials have served their time and going into 2014, let’s all start on a fresh page.
We need a motivated team in South Africa, one that will finally go beyond the group stages and to the final, and perhaps, with some bit of luck, lift the trophy.