Be innovation, minister tells national associations

Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
SPORTS and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane says there is need for every national association to come up with a resource mobilisation strategy instead of solely relying on the Government considering the economic challenges the country is facing.

National associations have over the past years complained over lack of support from the Government for their various activities, including funding for national teams.

Hlongwane said inasmuch as his ministry will lobby for support from the Government, there was need to understand the economic environment in which the associations are operating and find other ways to generate revenue.

He was meeting with the Zimbabwe Netball Association, Zimbabwe Volleyball Association and Cycling Zimbabwe as he continues with his tours.

“First, the most important strategic approach is that every national sport association must have built within its strategic plan a resource mobilisation strategy,” said Hlongwane.

“And that mobilisation strategy should address issues of membership, affiliation, issues of the nexus between that particular association and the corporate sector, issues of how the national association relates in a vertical format with the international federation.

“So there are several ways by which resources could be raised.

“All we are asking our associations is to be creative, to be innovative, to be fluid in terms of their approach and not be arrested by structural rigidities of the narrative that we are a country that doesn’t necessarily have resources to support the development of sport. “So this is very important, all national sport associations must necessarily have in place a resource mobilisation strategy and exploit it to the maximum.

“That’s why the idea of devolving to the lower levels of our communities is important because then through your club system you can raise revenue, through affiliations you can raise revenue, especially issues around running training programmes, running your offices and so on, those kind of issues can be dealt with.”

He said while he understood that the government should help, the onus also rested with the associations.

“I sympathise with a view that as government we need to do two things, one to fund national teams, secondly to provide a development grant to each association and that’s a conversation that I need to have with my colleagues in cabinet.

“Now at this juncture the obtaining reality is that the fiscal authority are clearly arrested by the under performing economy resource mobilisation at treasury is a big issue and we are all aware of what is going on and, therefore, my call to our national sport associations is to develop that ability.

“To adapt to looking at new ways of raising revenue, to partner the private sector, to partner NGOs or to raise internally revenues through issues of levies, membership and other such kind of developments,” said Hlongwane.

The minister said there are plans to acquire buses to curb transport challenges at national level and when national teams are travelling within the region for competitions.

Hlongwane, who has emphasised the importance of schools sports for grassroots development throughout the country, was impressed with the associations he visited yesterday as he said their structures speak to the national sport and recreation strategy.

The meetings have presented a platform for the associations and the minister to interact and share their challenges, success stories and ideas to promote sport throughout the country.

Netball president Leticia Chipandu said they were elated as the meeting gave them the opportunity to appraise the minister on various issues concerning their discipline.

Zimbabwe are the current Africa champions for netball.

“It was a very fruitful meeting because we were able to appraise the minister of what netball is all about, our activities, our achievements, our challenges and he was very happy to realise that there was a lot of achievements happening in netball.

“And he pledged to support us in different ways possible.

“The first support we are going to get is an office at the National Sports Stadium, where we can have an administrator who will be running our activities day-to-day.

“And that is going to improve communication with our stakeholders, it is the most pleasing news we have heard in a very long time.

“We are going to work very hard to improve our activities in 2016,” said Chipandu. Cycling Zimbabwe president Andrew Donaldson said they believe there is going to be a turnaround in sport.

“I think the visit from the minister is definitely a turnaround, it of gives us a welcoming feeling and also something to work towards and him, giving us his open door policy, it’s exciting and that means we can work together.

“We all have got the same ideas, same beliefs on where the sport should be and how it should be grown, so it’s going to be exciting times ahead. Obviously with their backing, I think the sport can only go one way, and that’s to grow, and as we said let’s get a healthy nation, healthy sporting nation and move forward,” said Donaldson.

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