Sports hope for better budget luck

As the minister of finance Patrick Chinamasa prepares to present the national budget, the sports family is hoping for better luck this time around and has come out with what they wish to be incorporated into the national budget.

Zimbabwe Football Association president Cuthbert Dube.
Zimbabwe Football Association president Cuthbert Dube.

Operating under the former ministry, which combined educations, arts, sport and culture, the sports fraternity was never happy as the ministry tended to have a bias towards education, leaving little or nothing at all for sport.

During that time it was common to see national teams from various sporting disciplines pulling out of major international competitions due to lack of funds as the government was not involved while the corporate sector was also reeling under the harsh economic climate.

But with education now standing on its own, and the new ministry of sport, arts and culture coming to the fore, the football family is hoping for a change of attitude from the government.

Former Premier Soccer League Chief Executive Officer Chris Sambo says the finance ministry should not look at sport as luxury or a form of entertainment but should view it as an industry. He is of the opinion that sport should receive government funding to allow each national association to receive funding for their development programmes.

“What we need now is for the ministry to pay attention to the needs of each association, and solve them,” said Sambo. Former sprinter Charles Bhiza believes funds should be set aside for national teams’ international assignments.

“I would like a situation in which all associations provide their international calendar and the ministry provides funding for that. It is embarrassing that now and then, we hear of our national teams failing to travel when there is the government supposed to take care of that,” said Bhiza.

Even Zimbabwe Football Association president Cuthbert Dube is of the opinion that the Warriors and their junior teams should be catered for by the government in their annual budget.

Dube said in other countries national teams were the responsibility of the government, hence those countries have been successful. They have the funds to go into camp, to travel well, and their player bonuses are guaranteed,” said Dube.

Dube’s Zifa, last year withdrew the Under-17 and Under-20 teams from Pan African football after failing to secure funds to have the teams travel to Mozambique and Angola. These teams last year failed to travel to Mozambique and Angola due to lack of funds and were withdrawn from Pan African football. Former Zimbabwe middleweight boxing aspirant Lucky Manase said the budget should target small sporting disciplines but not football. Manase says football can generate its money from the thousands of fans who attend matches but the money was being misused.

“I don’t think football needs government funding. The percentage that Zifa gets from all matches played is enough to sustain the national team. But the money is not being used properly,” says Manase.

But minister of sport, arts and culture Andrew Langa is not promising anything.

Post published in: Football
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