Sports fraternity joins Cyclone Idai solidarity

The country’s sporting community yesterday joined hands with the rest of the nation in the aftermath of devastating effects of Cyclone Idai that ravaged through Manicaland Province this week.
Chimanimani and Chipinge were the hardest his areas.

The senior women’s national cricket team, currently in camp for next month’s tour of Uganda, yesterday took time off their busy schedule to join members of the community at Presbyterian Church in Harare to help towards the disaster.

They took part in the exercise that involved packing foodstuffs into boxes and sacks for easy transportation as well as separating clothes and putting them in the right and respective age groups among other activities.

Food stuffs from cooking oil, sugar, milk, rice and mealie-meal as well as clothes, basic necessities such as washing and bath soaps, blankets, mattresses all trickled in as well-wishers made a bee-line into the centre to hand over their donations.

Lady Chevrons captain Mary-Anne Musonda who led her charges to the venue said she was overjoyed with the love and support Zimbabweans from all walks of life have shown towards the cause.
“It’s so encouraging I think it’s a message to all people all over Zimbabwe to really feel for our brothers and sisters out there who have been affected by the cyclone to bring themselves, to volunteer, provisions need to be packed.

Just people’s presence is really helping out I’m encouraged by that and I would like to encourage all Zimbabweans to do the same.” 
Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Khama Billiat who jetted in on Monday for Sunday’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations final qualifier against Congo said the team is dedicating that match to the people who perished in the cyclone disaster as well as the survivors.

“I just wanna say our hearts are with those that passed away during the cyclone, we just wanna say we are with them and we are going to play this game for everyone, we are together as one nation,” said Khama in a video.

Dynamos captain Edward Sadomba under the banner of Footballers Union of Zimbabwe also reached out to current and former footballers to come forth with help in any form.

“On behalf of Footballers Union of Zimbabwe I’m appealing to all current and former footballers to join hands to help the Cyclone Idai victims. It could be in form of used clothes, money or pots we are kindly asking you to help us in any way you can so that we can help our brothers and sisters who are in this predicament,” Sadomba said.

More goodwill also came from cricket with recently crowned domestic Twenty20 champions Tusker’ captain Ainsley Ndlovu and pace bowler Chris Mpofu giving words of encouragement.

“My prayers and thoughts are with all the families going through these devastating effects of Cyclone Idai,” Ndlovu said while Mpofu added: “It’s been devastating to say the least. I may be from Bulawayo but to see what’s been happening in Chimanimani is really sad, my prayer goes to these families who have lost lives and those who are still remaining who have lost properties, it’s really sad for me,” Mpofu told the Daily News.

National team batsman Sikandar Raza said he is going to donate his match fees to the cause. “Get involved people please. People in Zimbabwe need our help, please donate generously…I will be donating the match fee and the winning bonus from the 20/20 finals,” tweeted Raza while Brendan Taylor former national team captain said. 

“I urge all @ZimCricketv player’s to come together. We can make a huge impact to those affected! #cycloneidai.”  Meanwhile, Tatenda Tavaziva, Msasa Rotary Club secretary who is coordinating all the Rotary Clubs in Zimbabwe in this initiative at Presbyterian Church said their hearts are with the people in Chimanimani. 

“We saw a number of different organisations wanting to act and bring relief to the Chimanimani- Chipinge area so…we said we are better and stronger together…we said how can we combine efforts and collaborate and make this thing better. Right now there’s 30 tonnes of rice, 30 tonnes of mealie-meal, 30 tonnes of water, we have already sent a gonyeti full of clothes and just the response of the Zimbabwean people has just been incredible,” Tavaziva said.

“I would like to say to the people of Chimanimani and Chipinge our hearts break for you, we are so sorry this happened. If there was any way we could have avoided it I wish we could. We want them to know that we are with them 100 percent.” 

Miracle Missions and Harare Helps official Jacqueline Anderson said she is overwhelmed with the people’s response towards the emergency.  “What we have been doing for the last three days is putting a call out for the needy about what happened in Chipinge, Chimanimani and Mutare, it was devastation. I think it hit us more than we could think we knew it was coming and sadly we weren’t ready for it but we should have been really because we knew it was coming but to the extent to what happened- I don’t think we were expecting that,” Anderson said.

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