Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mavima, who is also the patron of the Northern Region women’s football, has called on for the support of women’s football teams that have achieved in the past.
He was speaking during a fundraising dinner on Saturday evening in Harare where he was mobilising resources for the Northern Region women’s league.
The function was attended by several companies’ representatives and football stakeholders.
The Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry, who was the guest of honour, was represented by an official who read the her speech on her behalf.
Mavima believes that women’s football teams have proved that they are a force to reckon with and must be supported.
“I am happy that our women’s national teams have done us proud in the past hence they must be fully supported. Football, which is the most popular sport and the most beautiful game, must be harnessed towards economic and social emancipation of the girl child.
“We all know that the girl child has been sidelined for so long yet research has reviewed beyond any shadow of doubt that the empowerment and emancipation of women has a huge positive effect on the success of families, corporates, nations and the world at large. Women are indeed the game-changer,” said Mavima.
Mavima added that the success by Zimbabwe’s greatest Olympian, Minister Coventry, at the Olympic Games, the Mighty Warriors historic performance at the 2016 Summer Games and the two consecutive qualification by the senior netball national team — the Gems — to the Netball World Cup showed that women can succeed if fully supported.
Minister Mavima pledged his support to the Northern Region.
“As the patron of this region, I want to assure you that I will do everything to ensure that the region is governed professionally, transparently, accountably, efficiently and effectively.
“My colleague minister, Honourable Kirsty Coventry, and the executive of the region have already assured me of their full support to ensure that this project is a resounding success,” he said.
Minister Coventry, who was represented by the ministry’s official, Arthur Mudarikwa, who read the speech on the Minister’s behalf, commended Minister Mavima for recognising women’s football.
“I would like to express my gratitude to you for recognising the potential our women football teams have to make it to podium performance after qualifying for the Africa Women Cup of Nations, World Cup and the Olympics.
“This initiative resonates well starting from grassroots and youth football where the majority of the players in Northern Region Women Football Division One fall into. Imparting both football and life skills to these girls will go a long way in moulding a holistic player.
“The Northern Region Women Football project, I am reliably informed, plans to cascade down to its three provincial leagues and set up developmental structures that feed into the Division One League.
“In order to achieve the set objectives, there is a need for a multi-sectoral approach and it is, therefore, incumbent upon us to support this noble initiative,” said Coventry.
A number of companies attended the event and pledged their support. The National Building Society led the way and donated US$5 000 towards next year’s season. Blue Ribbon Foods, NSSA, Moonlight Funeral Services, and Mimosa Mining Company and various individuals also pledged their support.
An auction was conducted with former Mighty Warriors defender and coach Rosemary Mugadza’s captaincy jersey of the 1990s being snatched up for US$150.
Football balls signed by the three Ministers Mavima, Coventry and Minister for Women’s Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Sithembiso Nyoni, were also auctioned.
Northern Region Women’s Football League is looking to reignite its brand by securing sponsorship for an assortment of their needs which include sponsorship for the league as well as partnership towards setting up a high performance training programme.
Mavima said the National Development Strategy 1 acknowledges the importance of sport in national development.
He said football was also key in keeping young girls and women from social vices such as drug abuse and unwanted pregnancies.
“Our National Development Strategy (NDS1) acknowledges that sport is vital for national development in several ways such as economic contribution through export of players, national peace and cohesion through bringing people together despite their political, religious and ethnic diversity, social development through leisure which takes people out of social vices such as drug and substance abuse and premature sex and unwanted pregnancies, physical and mental well-being which reduces health costs and development of social skill such as confidence and leadership which can be used in other spheres of life,” he said.