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Zimbabwe government commits to Warriors

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GOVERNMENT is working flat out to source $354 000 needed for the Warriors’ participation in the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals with less than 21 days to the tournament kick off in South Africa.

REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

Sports, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa says he was happy with the allocation from the 2014 national budget presented by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday, although the actual budget allocation could not be ascertained last night.

He added: “We received their $354 000 budget for Chan, but it is unfortunate that we had that mishap last night (Wednesday night) where the national coach Ian Gorowa had to feed the Warriors, but I can say we are working with the Finance ministry to see how best we can assist the national team,” Langa said after yesterday’s budget presentation.

“I am quite happy and I believe it is a fair budget. It has accommodated my ministry. I will get the actual figures later on.”

There has been hope within the sporting fraternity since the establishment of a separate ministry as it had been clustered together with Education, making it impossible for the ministry to allocate resources to sport.

On Tuesday, the national association, Zifa, received a timely boost when it got technical assistance from kit manufacturer Umbro, but Zifa president Cuthbert Dube said more needed to be done by Government to support the national cause.

“The senior men’s team is our flagship team and we had to ensure that they are not short of support resources and other services. We need to give the team all the necessary support if the team is to perform well.

“When the Warriors qualified for their maiden appearance at the African Cup of Nations in 2014, government and sponsors fell over each other to sponsor the team’s preparations and participation. In 2006 once more government and the sponsors stampeded over each other as they availed material and financial resources for the Warriors ahead of and during the 2006 Nations Cup.

“We are aware that government and sponsors have faced challenges over the years in respect of sponsoring national teams. We implore government to avail, as has been the tradition, a special tournament grant for national teams which qualify for regional, continental and international tournaments,” Dube said.

“A national team cannot be serviced by a football association whose huge debts are public knowledge. A national team cannot be sponsored by the Zifa president when other national teams, the world over, get sponsorship from their governments and sponsors.

“The senior national team’s preparations and participation at the 2014 Chan tournament require sponsorship in respect of apparel, transport, full board accommodation, allowances, beverages, and other cost centres. I once more appeal for sponsors to come to the party in support of the Warriors and other national teams.”

The total budget allocation will also include funding for the refurbishment of Barbourfields, Luveve and White City stadiums ahead of the African Union Region Five Under-20 Games slated for Bulawayo in December next year.

The government has set aside a budget of $46 million for the games which will see Barbourfields’ sitting capacity increase from the present 26 000 to between 30 000 and 35 000 while two more changing rooms will be built to bring the total complement to four.

The VIP stand will also be renovated to international standards while at Luveve, the present dressing rooms will be changed into public toilets that will accommodate close to 60 people at any given time.

New modern dressing rooms with lockers and bathing facilities will be built on the western side which is also where the VIP stand will be located. The VIP enclosure will also have a shed.

Langa has toured the infrastructure. Speaking at the end of the tour early last month, the minister said President Robert Mugabe and Cabinet were fully behind the games and reiterated government’s commitment to staging successful games.

“We have a budget of $46 million with $36 million set to go towards infrastructural development and the remainder going towards administration,” Langa said.

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