The time to act is now

HARARE - The 11th edition of the Zimbabwe National Youth Games has come and gone. And it is our hope that the games, which were touted as a dress rehearsal for next year’s Zone VI Youth Games which will be hosted by Zimbabwe in December 2014, were an eye opener for the Sports and Recreation Commission.

It is our sincere hope that the confusion which resulted in some competitions being delayed due to infrastructure not being ready on time, served as a reminder to the organisers that preparation is the key to success.

It would be embarrassing to the nation if the competing countries were to find us in a state of unpreparedness like what happened recently in Bulawayo when competition in some disciplines could not take place on the first day because the contractor had not finished working on a playing court.

Proper planning is important and it must have been embarrassing when it was pointed out that it would be next to impossible to have 10 football teams competing at White City Stadium as the nature of football at times calls for teams vying for qualification to play at the same time.

This therefore means that organisers must make sure that government releases funds meant for the construction of stadia early so that work is finished on time for test runs to be done to identify any potential problems. It also means that organisers should involve technical people who are well-versed in sport in their committees to evade avoidable blunders.

The Zone VI Games will provide a platform for the country to market itself to the world and other sectors should be in the loop about what is happening.

For example, the organisers cited the shortage of funds when quizzed about the uninspiring opening ceremony during the just ended Youth Games.

But some of the groups that performed at the closing ceremony admitted that they had performed for free and this proves that with the right approach, many people will volunteer their services for a national cause. An opening ceremony should be a showcase of a nation’s culture and the organisers ought to engage the arts community so that the opening and closing ceremonies for the regional games will be a marvel.

Bulawayo is supposed to play host to the regional games but the state of some of the city’s sporting venues is not inspiring, and the reality is that a lot of work needs to be done.

Some like the Bulawayo Courts for the Disabled, which hosts local basketball games, were condemned by the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa Zone VI and a new place has to be built but the question is whether that can be done within a year.

This can only be possible if work starts with immediate effect and we hope the SRC gets the ball rolling sooner than later so that the country can host a successful Zone VI Youth Games.


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