mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt”> – Zimbabwean athletes who represent their country should attend youth training camps for lessons in patriotism, according to ZNA brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze, chairman of the Sports and Recreation Commission.
The recommendations come after the national football team refused to go to this year’s African Nations Cup until their travel allowances were paid. Mashingaidze told ZBC that youth training would remove the “mercenary” elements from sports teams.
The training camps began five years ago as part of a national youth service initiative intended to help young people find employment and instil a sense of identity. But critics say they are paramilitary training camps, where youths are brain-washed and taught to attack opponents of President Robert Mugabe. Their graduates are known as the “green bombers” because of their military fatigues.
According to the ZBC, a report from the sports body supreme says youth training would ensure “the total and permanent eradication of the dangerous, distractive, unproductive, unpatriotic and mercenary mentality currently being experience in national teams”.