Home » Sports » Zim Sport – Whites Racist, Blacks Corrupt

IF one is to describe Zimbabwe in terms of sport, one would have to say we flatter to deceive more than anything. That is not to say we do not have any successes to be proud of. We have the women’s hockey team better known as the ‘Golden Girls’ which won a Gold Medal at the 1982 Olympic Games, one of the few team sport successes Zimbabwe has had to date.

Most of our successes have been by individual sportspersons who have been fortunate to experience a support system that has allowed them to excel at world events.

Olympic gold medallist, swimmer Kirsty Coventry, is a case in point. Admittedly the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee played its part, but if her parents had not committed time and money from the beginning, she would not be the pride of Zimbabwe today.

Coventry is the latest of a long line of individual sportspersons who owe their success to their parents. Before her were the tennis family of Byron, Wayne, and Cara Black. But there is nothing that can galvanise a country like the success of a national team. We saw this when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and the African Nations Cup a year later.

What of Zambia’s first African Nations Cup win after losing a whole team to the air disaster in Gabon years before? So the question is: Why have we, as a nation, failed when it comes to team sports? Sport in Zimbabwe is generally categorised as either a minority or a mass sport. This stems from the pre-independence days when sport was divided on racial lines. So for the majority of the population, only soccer, netball, and athletics were made available to them.

Other sport disciplines like hockey, cricket, rugby, swimming, rowing, sailing, squash and tennis were the preserve of the minority section of the population. Historically, this is where the problem lies. There is a g perception among black sports persons that white administrators work on the basis of a player, manager or coach, when choosing representative for any given sporting discipline they are in charge of.

However, it seems these racial activities are not limited to whites only as some blacks connive with the administrators to the detriment of their fellow blacks. The recent case of Losson Mtongwizo, the former Sables team manager is a good example. There are some who accuse him of being two-faced, saying when it suited him, he turned a blind eye to the racial discrimination of the administrators but when they turned against him he cried foul racism and sought the support of his black brothers he had been alienating.

It is interesting to note that much of the infighting and accusations usually come to a head when a sport is approaching a major competition such as a World Cup. It is understood among black sports persons that whites use these competitions as a way to further their careers or seek sports scholarships for themselves. The other half of the problem rests in the sporting disciplines that are managed by black administrators. For these disciplines, corruption in all its shape, form and size is the problem. This is compounded by bad management, planning and in some cases, the administrators are not qualified for the posts they hold.

Football has been a good example of this for close to 30 years and cricket seems to be following in its footsteps ever since black administrators took over. What this means is that winning or doing well at international events might not be the aim of the black administrators or their white counterparts in Zimbabwe.

While other countries like Afghanistan in cricket, Kenya in rugby, and Eritrea in football are improving, we are going backwards. One hopes that with the new Sports Ministry, things will change for the better. – Steyn Kombayi

Source : Financial Gazette