Best of the Best – Robert Mutsauki

Renowned locally and internationally, Robert Mutsauki is one of the most popular sports administrators to emerge from Zimbabwe. He is now the technical director of the Association of National Olympic Committees for Africa (ANOCA). He tells us about his Best of the Best.

Robert Mutsauki
Robert Mutsauki

Best sporting memory

I will go with two, namely my tenure as the President of the then-Amateur Athletic Association of Zimbabwe (AAAZ) and my term as Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC). These are the best periods of my sporting life, during which I recorded significant and lasting achievements and made a significant impact. This is my legacy and hopefully, the contributions I made in these and other roles will be remembered for a long time to come.

Best sporting years for Zimbabwe

This is a difficult one, but being a member of the Olympic family, I would have to go with 1980, 1995, 2004 and 2008. 1995 was more about the successful organization and the hosting of the All Africa Games, while the other years yielded Olympic medals for Zimbabwe.

Best Olympic memory

For me it is 2004, when swimmer Kirsty Coventry won gold, silver and bronze medals in Athens-the first individual Olympic medals by any Zimbabwean. I was the Chef de Mission (Head of Delegation). I felt I played a small part in creating a conducive environment for Coventry to excel. I became part of this historic moment and this experience will remain etched in my mind as well as in Zimbabwean sports history.

Best Zimbabwean sports personality

It would have to be Coventry, not only because of her six Olympic medals-two of them gold -in successive Olympic Games (2004 and 2008) and world records, but also because she is now a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes Commission (IOC), which makes her part of the top decision-making body of the IOC Session. She happens to have a great personality herself and she remains a down-to-earth type despite all her achievements.

Best sports administrator in Zimbabwe

I would have to go with Tommy Sithole as the most successful sports administrator so far. He reached the highest level as an elected official of the IOC Executive Board and also as a full-time Sports Executive (IOC Director of International Cooperation and Development). Some of us are following in his footsteps but to match his achievements will be quite a tall order.

Best administration prospect

I believe Stanley Mutoya who used to be my deputy at ZOC before he took over as CEO and then joined the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (ZONE VI) as General Manager is destined for greater heights as a sports administrator or elsewhere if he chooses to change direction. He is dynamic and has an undying quest for knowledge and excellence. Hopefully as a rising star he will stay on course.

Best friend in sport

Edward Siwela and David Mutambara are two best friends I have made in sport namely. I worked closely with Siwela in the then AAAZ, where he was the Secretary General, and together we managed to elevate athletics to a level that even now people can only dream about. The 90s were certainly the golden years for athletics. I also worked with Mutambara on the Sports and Recreation Commission Board and again, together with the likes of Antony Mandiwanza and others we impacted on sport in a big way getting the Commission to move away from being more of a regulator to the role of facilitator. I also collaborated well with both Mutambara and Siwela during my tenure at ZOC.

Best accolade

Although I was crowned Sports Administrator of the Year (1994) and Director of the Year (2009) among other accolades and awards, for me the best is the recognition and acknowledgement by many Zimbabwean sports persons in whose lives I have impacted meaningfully through my contribution as coach, administrator, leader or adviser over the years. If Robert Mutsauki is a household name today, or as someone put it, a brand in its own right then this is what I consider to be a priceless accolade. In my view one could not ask for more.

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