2012: A forgettable year

HARARE - Happy festive season, sports lovers! Here’s to new beginnings, not to mention the end of 2012. Good riddance to that one!

I mean, what a lousy year this has been for Zim sports! It made you miss the years when our dear Warriors would qualify for the African Nations Cup, and Kirsty Coventry would rip medals at the Olympics.

2012 has been entirely forgettable for Zimbabwean sports as the country lurched from one crushing disappointment to another.

Thank God it’s over, to be closely followed by, let’s hope, a much better 2013.

The Warriors’ devastating g failure to qualify for Afcon 2013 was the lowest point of a dismal year. Add to that, the barren London Olympics campaign as well as the cricket side’s meek submission on the New Year tour of New Zealand and that scandalous capitulation at the ICC Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and the Sables proved the old cliché correct by winning the African rugby title in Tunisia back in June.

But as the year progressed, the country’s number one rugby team suffered four straight test defeats at the hands of not-so-invincible opposition, giving the local game a tough reality check in the much-hyped 2015 World Cup qualification quest.

Against the background of averageness, my attention is drawn to the country’s national sports awards, the Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa), which really should to be the biggest night on the Zimbabwean sports calendar, but, unfortunately always turn out to be such a low key affair, even shadowed by the Soccer Stars of the Year awards.

For starters, I feel there are too many categories in the Ansa awards for a small country.

In the end, awards are dished cheaply, and in a year of mediocrity like this, such a scenario is a big blow to the prestige of the awards.

Take for example the Team of the Year and Coach of the Year awards, which were given to the Zimbabwe Sevens rugby team and their coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba respectively.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love rugby and I have a soft spot for Zim rugby, but Cheetahs as Team of the Year? That’s a NO for me.

I do not know who sits on the Ansa selection panel so I cannot comment about their knowledge of different sports, but if I can enlighten you a bit reader, Sevens rugby in Africa is still a preserve of a few countries.

Unlike Fifteens, which is now played across the continent by numerous countries at a very competitive level, in Sevens, you have South Africa and Kenya as your leading world-class sides.

After that you have Zimbabwe, and after that, you have no one.  

So, without taking anything away from the Cheetahs, winning an Africa Zone World Cup qualification tournament (minus South Africa and Kenya) is a mere formality which must not see a supposedly rugby nation like us break a sweat.

One would think that Dynamos, for successfully defending their league and cup double under stern challenge from Highlanders, deserved to be crowned Team of the Year while their coach Calisto Pasuwa did enough to be honoured as the country’s Coach of the Year in any sport.

I do understand that part of the criterion for Ansa is some kind of international achievement, but rules are not cast in stone, especially when credibility is at stake.

Being my last column of the year, let me take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who read the Daily News in 2012 and a special thank you to all who keenly followed our sports pages.

See you in 2013!

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