Coventry pushes for HPCs

A team of local technocrats and government officials on a sports development exchange programme in Europe

GOVERNMENT has entered into a partnership with petroleum giant  Sakunda Holdings to set up high performance centres (HPCs) in the country to enhance the development of athletics, with one such facility set to be established at the National Sports stadium in  Harare.

A team of government officials, local engineers and sports administrators is in Europe where they are on a learning mission on how the country can uplift some of its stadia as well as how they can establish high performance centres.

They travelled to Spain where they toured the Real Betis Stadium and high performance centre in Seville as well as the Barcelona Football Club’s Camp Nou and Real Madrid’s Bernabeu.

After their visit to Spain they also travelled to Munich for a tour of Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.

The group comprises Eugene Chidhakwa, a director in the Sports ministry Evelyn Mutsvangwa from the same ministry, Lovemore Muzhanye, a quantity surveyor in the Local Government ministry, engineer Nicholas Mutangu a deputy director in the same ministry as well as Chenjerai Bwerinofa, an architect.

Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) director Sebastian Garikai and Nqobile Magwizi, Sakunda Holdings project coordinator also made the trip and are expected to report back to the government and the petroleum company.

Sakunda has committed to fund the redevelopment of the National Sports Stadium so that it can meet international standards.

All of the country’s stadia are barred from hosting international matches by Fifa and Caf and the government is in a rush to try and upgrade the facilities so that they can host international matches.

As part of the redevelopment of the National Sports Stadium, a high performance centre is set to be established at the arena, a project that has been pushed by sports minister Kirsty Coventry, who came through such facilities and went on to win Olympic medals for the country.

Magwizi said that the trip was an eye opener particularly on the need to establish high performance centres which he said would improve the country’s sporting fortunes.

He urged the private sector to invest in the establishment of high performance centres as a way of improving communities.

“The private sector needs to participate (in the establishment and maintenance of high performance centres), because this has a huge impact on how communities can be transformed. The same athletes have a role to be play in being role models for the youths. So ultimately it impacts on how communities can be sustainable from an economic point of view,” he said before making a plea to corporates to follow in the footsteps of Sakunda.

“I would like to encourage those that might have doubts on how sport can impact on our communities that they should participate like how Sakunda has been participating, it can make a huge difference in our communities and it can help our economic growth aspirations.  So if Zimbabwe is to have a high performance centre, it would obviously accelerate the manner we perform in the global sporting space. It will help us to achieve beyond what we have been achieving. So it’s mind blowing how these high performance centres, have been used as a proponent for economic growth and transforming communities. I am hoping that as Zimbabwe we get to that level where we treat sport in that manner.”

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