Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
IN March, as the Warriors prepared for their final African Nations Cup qualifier at home against Congo-Brazzaville, there was an embarrassing development that saw the national team being barred from training at the National Sports Stadium.
Accusations and counter-accusations were thrown around with team manager, Wellington Mpandare, telling the media that officials from the ministry which is in charge of the stadium said they were not happy that Zifa had not provided them with access to the electronic system that the association was using to sell tickets because they get a percentage from the gross amount realised from the sale of the tickets.
The facility is owned by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.
A few weeks after that debacle, we had a shocking revelation that the same National Sports Stadium did not have a standard athletics track that would allow athletes to qualify for international events.
The National Sports Stadium was previously certified when the country played host to the 1995 All-Africa Games.
The lanes were re-marked in 2009 but International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards were not followed.
“We had some correspondence about five years ago concerning the Bulawayo track, but there has been no progress since.
“There is no IAAF-certified track in Zimbabwe,” said Imre Matrahazi the IAAF technical manager, competitions and events in response to Chronicle Sport inquiry then.
Just recently, there was another surprise when Caf issued a red card to the National Sports Stadium, saying it could not host international matches because of its poor state.
It is in a poor state simply because the owners of the facility probably do not realise its “value” and that is why they are neglecting it.
But what baffles the nation is why the facility is not under the jurisdiction of the sports ministry.
It is not only the National Sports Stadium which is a sporting facility that is not under the relevant ministry, even Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex, which was built ahead of the 1995 All Africa Games (now African Games) is not under the jurisdiction of the Sport Ministry.
However, had the 2015 recommendations by the Sport, Education and Arts Parliamentary Portfolio Committee been taken aboard, the country might not be facing such embarrassing situations.
In January 2015, the 25-member committee chaired by Temba Mliswa presented its position to Parliament of Zimbabwe which was accompanied by 18 recommendations among them being that;
“The Ministry of Local government must surrender all sporting facilities like stadiums and swimming pools to the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture so that the sports ministry will manage the day to day sporting facilities so that there will be maximum use of the sporting facilities”.
Other key recommendations made by the portfolio committee was the reduction of the levies that clubs pay to Zifa and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in which the committee argued that the levies that clubs paid to these bodies meant double taxation of the football clubs.
“The companies involved in sports must be given tax incentives so that they continue supporting the development of the sport. There must be a reduction in local authority levies as the 20% levies currently charged by local authorities is affecting the livelihood of football clubs and is therefore not sustainable for most clubs. The Ministry of Finance and Development must lower or even remove import duty on sports uniforms and other sports equipment,” noted the committee.
Over the last couple of years sports bodies have found it difficult to bring in uniforms and or equipment because of high import duties that are clearly beyond the reach of these clubs.