Coventry pushes for high performance centres

Sakunda has committed to fund the redevelopment of the National Sports Stadium.

The government and its partner Sakunda Holding are pushing for the establishment of high-performance centres in the country to enhance the development of athletes with one such facility set to be established at the National Sports stadium.

A team of government officials, 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 and their benefits.

They traveled to Spain where they went to the Real Betis stadium and the high performance centre in Seville as well as touring the Barcelona Football Club’s Camp Nou and Real Madrid’s Bernabeu.

After their visit to Spain, the team also traveled to Munich for the same mission and they toured 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 ChenjeraiBwerinofa, an architect.

Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) director Sebastian Garikai and NqobileMagwizi, 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 fix the problem.

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 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 home 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, its mind blowing how these high-performance centers have been used as a proponent for economic growth and transforming communities. I am hoping that as Zimbabwe we get to that we level where we treat sport in that manner.”

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