Team Zim in financial quagmire

HARARE - Team Zimbabwe’s ambitions of a medal haul at the African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Youth Games are turning into despair as they are still $620 000 short of meeting preparation and in-competition costs.

Such is their dilemma that the team is yet to acquire kits for the biannual competition which is just over a month away.

Being the hosts, it would be an embarrassment, if the team should turn up on the eve of the Games without a ceremonial kit.

Above that they are currently facing difficulties in conditioning athletes for the competition that starts on December 5 in Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

With examinations currently running, the team’s management committee had resolved to have athletes train on weekends at selected institutions.

But that has been far from enough with other technical disciplines being left in the cold due to unavailability of funds.

Team Zimbabwe has set up a budget of $890 000 for items ranging from kits, participation fees, administration costs, athletes’ allowances, winning incentives, camping costs, athletes’ toiletries and medical cover.

So far $270 000 has been received from government with $250 000 of that amount going towards paying the mandatory participation fee to the Region Five Games Local Organizing Committee.

Deputy chef de mission administration Tirivashe Nheweyembwa yesterday admitted Zimbabwe’s participation at the Games could be that of adding up numbers if funds were not availed.

“We are looking for more funding. As it stands we are getting support from different institutions where our athletes are training at affordable prices but we need to do more,” Nheweyembwa said.

“We want gold medals so we need to invest in gold medals. I would say resources are hampering our preparation plan. But we will continue to push government so that some resources are availed to us.

We appreciate that government has managed to give us $270 000 most of it has gone to paying the participation fee. We now need to look into the welfare of athletes. We need to up our game.”

Out of the shortfall, Nheweyembwa said the team needs at least $100 000 for camping.

The team had planned to get into full camp from November 14 to the start of the competition on December 5 but the situation obtaining may force a change in that schedule.

“We are not saying it should come from one person because at the end of the day these athletes are not competing for themselves but for the pride of every Zimbabwean,” said Nheweyembwa.

“It’s a tall order but we will need to all put hands on deck and do it.”

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