Are we harvesting where we haven't sown?

HARARE - Charles Manyuchi’s rise to world boxing prominence has been met with glowing reviews but has equally begged the question — has Zimbabwe become a nation that claims credit where it has not invested?

Manyuchi is flying high after winning the World Boxing Championship (WBC) welterweight title in which he floored Ghanaian boxer Patrick Allotey in the eighth round on Saturday evening in Lusaka, Zambia.

That technical knockout (TKO) saw Manyuchi adding to his African Boxing Union (ABU) welterweight crown that he won in June last year after knocking out belt holder Patrice Toke of Burkina Faso.

Accordingly, his exploits have been hailed by Zimbabwe government dignitaries, with some promising the Masvingo-based pugilist to expect better morale and financial support.

Cabinet ministers Andrew Langa and Walter Mzembi went as far as hinting they will organise a platform for Manyuchi to present his belt to President Robert Mugabe.

However, the government’s pledge comes days after they reneged on their promise to back Axcil Jefferies in this year’s Formula Two season.

The 20-year-old motor racing sensation had last month met vice-president Joice Mujuru amongst a number of prominent people who all pledged to source funds for him.

But he was to later find out that he had been promised heaven on earth by people that do not necessarily believe there is a heaven out there.

Manyuchi, who himself is no stranger to empty promises, will, however hope his predicament will not be the same as that of Jefferies.

He will hope the same recognition he receives in Zambia, where he has become a common feature on electronic billboards, will echo in his own country.

That Manyuchi has had to use a foreign system to realise his potential is a sad indictment on the state of boxing in the country.

But the Zimbabwe National Boxing Board of Control (ZNBBC) insists Manyuchi has received the best possible support from his country under the circumstances.

“Our task is to ensure fair play and to protect the interest of boxers,” said ZNBBC secretary Gilbert Munetsi.

“I think you know where boxing was before and we are currently rebuilding.

“It’s a process that involves laying a firm foundation. We know that there is a bit of anxiety and impatience on the part of the boxing community.

“But to say that Manyuchi has not been recognised locally is wrong.  Remember we recommended him to the Annual National Sports Awards where he was a runner-up last year.

“Financial support comes from the corporate world. They want return on investment, now he is a brand they will want to associate with. You’II have to achieve some success first.”

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