Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
MINISTER of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Miriam Chikukwa said there is need to pay adequate attention to sport from grassroots if the country is to turn its fortunes for the better.
Chikukwa was speaking at the Bob Label Basketball tournament awards ceremony held last night at the ZANU-PF Headquarters in Harare where she was the guest of honour.
The awards saw the Under-18 teams from schools and individuals that participated in last year’s Bob 91 tournament receiving trophies and kits.
The tournament is held annually to celebrate President Mugabe’s birthday and was launched in 2013.
Chikukwa said the poor performance by the national teams was a result of lack of support for developmental programmes.
“Quite often people normally bemoan the poor performances of our national teams. I am quite sure that one of the fundamental reasons for this under-performance is that we as a nation have failed to pay adequate attention to sports development programmes at the grassroots level.
“Our sports development programmes should emphasis on financial support for the development of talents from the grassroots upwards.
“The Government has now established a full-fledged Ministry of Sport and Recreation, which I am sure will usher in such developments.
“My colleague, the Honourable Minister of Sport Cde Hlongwane has already exhibited his exuberance in dealing with problems which many thought were insurmountable at ZIFA.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the youths of this country are our future leaders. We should therefore be able to give a firm foundation that will see them following the legacy of our iconic leader, His Excellency the President Cde RG Mugabe. I am impressed to note that the organisers of this event are working tirelessly to do this,” said Chikukwa.
Schools that were rewarded include Churchill, who are the reigning boys champions and the runners-up Prince Edward and Cornway College.
In the girls section, Girls High A team were the winners, followed by Girls High B team and Marlborough came third. The teams got trophies and kits for their efforts.
The event was also graced by Sport and Recreation Minister, Makhosini Hlongwane, who also commended the organisers of the tournament.
“The choice of the sport code of basketball, for the expression of our stout recognition of his Excellency Cde Robert Mugabe for his overwhelming revolutionary exploits and achievements, is apt.
“Basketball is associated with the above average height, deft movements and mental agility. The qualities, in part, describe the attributes of our beloved President.
“His political genius and intellectual gravitas have elevated him to the apex of Pan-African statecraft,” said Hlongwane.
Bob organising committee chairman, Tendai Zhakata, said they are looking forward to a better and bigger event this year.
The ceremony was also attended by Basketball Union of Zimbabwe president, Addison Chiware, who also hailed the tournament.
Boys: Tawanda Chitsinde
Girls: Onai Muporozi
Most Valuable Player
Boys: Denzel Chari
Girls: Melody Chapwanya