Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) yesterday savaged the government for allowing minority sports to resume activity, while keeping the majority disciplines which earn the country money on lockdown.
By Kevin Mapasure
This week the government allowed low-risk sport codes to resume training and competitions under strict conditions, but the most popular disciplines that include football, rugby and cricket were kept under lockdown with athletes barred from such basics as training.
Archery, rowing, tennis, golf, motor sports, cycling, darts, draft, pool, athletics, gymnastics and swimming were all unshackled.
The outspoken former Zimbabwe rugby international and fitness trainer accused the authorities of discriminatory behaviour.
Mliswa was responding to a tweet by Information ministry permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana’s post announcing the government decision.
“This is a joke. These are all minority sports that have nothing to do with the majority,” Mliswa tweeted following Mangwana’s listing of sport codes that had been deemed low risk and could resume.
“Why would government seek to promote discrimination? Why focus on elite sports when there is the informal sector that contributes to the economy that needs address on how to open safely.”
Later on Mliswa told NewsDay Sport that his bone of contention with the government was that they chose to allow elite sports to resume, yet disciplines that contribute to the economy were left hanging.
“Why have minority sports been allowed to go ahead, yet they don’t contribute anything to the country? We don’t get anything from them, so what’s the rush to give then special treatment?
What’s so special about them? There is no World Cup coming up for all of them, so if conditions are not allowing for the resumption of sport everyone should wait. We have disciplines that contribute something to the country, but they are still banned.”
Football and cricket are some of the biggest funders of government programmes through the Sports and Recreation Commission.
Cricket brings in the most foreign currency among sporting disciplines in the country.
Zimbabwe Cricket are hoping to host India in August in a lucrative tour that would bring in millions of US dollars, but all that now hangs in the balance as they have been kept locked out by the authorities.
he Premier Soccer League is the most popular sporting activity in the country, but its resumption also hangs in the balance as football has been deemed high risk.
European countries that have been ravaged by the coronavirus are resuming football activities.
Last week, the German Bundesliga resumed and continues this weekend.
The English Premier League is planning on returning next month.
Local footballers are struggling and have become sorry cases with clubs failing to pay salaries.
Dynamos is planning on cutting salaries, Highlanders have lost their coach because they can’t pay, while Caps United players have not been paid April salaries and have had to rely on measly donations.