'Golf administrators must work hard'

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) president Muchadeyi Masunda feels there is no excuse why golf should be struggling for funding despite the prevailing harsh economic environment.

The former Harare Mayor, who has chaired more than 10 companies, believes administrative shortcomings are at the centre of the numerous problems infecting the sport.

His remarks came on the backdrop of the ZGA Award ceremony on Friday night where the only incentive accorded to the winners was a certificate and their name engraved on a shield.

“Times are hard especially for corporates but if you come up with well packaged programmes you are going to get support I can assure you,” he said.

“Take care of all these other things and let the boys concrete on playing golf.  The tennis tournament taking place at the moment was generously sponsored by Old Mutual.  It’s a question of putting in your bid early.

“Whilst I was away in Cape Town on business I got frantic phone of calls from (Zimbabwe Junior Golf president) Brian Maphosa just before the kids left for (the Junior World Cup in) Japan.”

“But it was too late. Too late. You need to start working on these things well in advance and if you package the whole thing properly you won’ be short of sponsors.

“Just to give you a graphic illustration of what I am talking about; Roger (Baylis) and I had the privilege of taking a Zimbabwe team to the Eisenhower Trophy in 2006 and for the first time in the history of the Eisenhower Tournament which goes back to 1958, Zimbabwe made history by being the first country to be represented by caddies which included Brian Gondo and Julius Kamalizeni.

“At the time, I was president of the ZGA and we introduced a policy that said the selection criteria would be on ‘ability to play rather than ability to pay.’

“Because in a number of instances we have a lot of talented kids who unfortunately are not able to pay their way through golf and thus cannot play all the requisite tournaments in order to stand a chance for selection.”

The former Zimplats Holdings Ltd board member added: “So, having let the result speak for themselves, we ended up with over 15 corporate entities, who were literary falling over each other to be associated with that project.

“And as if that is not enough, we got £ 10 000 from the Royal and Ancient as a contribution to our participation in the Eisenhower.

“At that tournament our boys did well. It was a very emotional occasion after three holes our boys were lying second and there was (now World number one) Rory McIlroy playing for Northern Ireland.

“And Julius Kamalizeni had a hole in one and the other boys weighed in with birdies. The point I m at pains to make is that lets take care of all these administrative things and let the boys' only worry be about playing golf.”

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