HARARE - Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila’s recent reward of brand new Toyota Prado four-wheel drive vehicles to all players and the technical team of his country’s national football team that recently won the African Nations Championship should be a lesson to the leadership of this country that routinely rewards mediocrity.
Nothing exemplifies this more than President Robert Mugabe’s reward of $300 000 to Munya Chidzonga who had lost the 2010 Big Brother Africa (BBA) reality competition to Nigeria’s Uti. Interestingly, in their strange wisdom of rewarding mediocrity, the money given to Chidzonga — the runner-up of the BBA contest — was $100 000 more than that given to the winner of the competition. How strange!
Many people were surprised the following year when 2011 BBA winner Wendall Parson was given a mere $50 000 by Mugabe even though he had won the competition outright.
In the same year, another proven winner, three-time Comrades Marathon winner Stephen Muzhingi, was also given just $50 000, far less than the $300 000 given to Chidzonga who had come second best.
We hope Kabila’s well-deserved reward to the victorious Congolese national football team will not only show our leaders the value of rewarding real champions but also inspire Zimbabwean football players to strive for excellence and victory.
For a long time now, Zimbabwean national football team players have blamed their inability to win trophies on the failure by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to make available allowances and money for preparations but this can no longer be the case anymore.
Despite his relative inexperience in football administration, Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa should be lauded for ensuring that the Zimbabwe national football team that participated in the recent African Nations Championship in Rwanda was well-catered for. Also, businessman Wicknell Chivhayo has delivered on his promise to give vehicles to national men’s soccer team coach Calisto Pasuwa and his Mighty Warriors counterpart Shadreck Mlauzi.
We understand Pasuwa now has an office, which obviously dignifies his position as national team coach.
Sadly, the team that did duty in Rwanda dismally came short and failed to win even a single match much to the disgust of local football fans. This failure to win on the big stage should prompt our players and members of the technical team to do some self-introspection.
They have absolutely no excuse for failing to win even a single match despite the enormous resources that had been put their disposal even though the country is facing deep-seated economic problems.
The time has come for our players to rise to the occasion and give their long-suffering fans a reason to smile for once.