Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
FOLLOWING the announcement she will be leaving her post as Zimbabwe Olympic Committee chief executive, Anna Mguni has urged the nation to introspect on what needs to be done for sport to move forward.
Mguni, who has been with ZOC since 2004, holding various positions before she became the chief executive, will be leaving at the end of the year.
It was revealed during the ZOC annual meeting over the weekend that Mguni will not be renewing her contract when it expires in December.
“I think the mindset must come right from the top and we are very fortunate in that we have leadership that has that mindset,’’ she said.
“But, the paradigm shift has to be a national one, we have to make a decision as a nation what sport means to us and then act on that.
“I think that’s the most important thing.
“And, also just having people with the right skills and the right competencies because sport is no longer just about anybody can be a leader.
“It’s now very skilled-based and competence-based because it’s very professional, so I think, that’s going to be very critical going forward.’’
Although the nation’s love for sport cannot be disputed, several aspects that contribute to athletes performing well have been neglected over the years.
Focus has mostly been on the field of play, without looking at other factors such as availability of suitable facilities, exposure, mental preparedness as well as the athletes’ welfare.
Mguni said athletes deserve all the support they need and should be the focal point.
“My mantra has always been we would not be administrators if it weren’t for the athletes,’’ she said.
“So, athletes continue to be the most important and should be the focal point of what we do.
“We need to make sure we put in place as much as possible to support those athletes whom we are trying to administer, best possible opportunities, conditions for them to perform.
“This is what then gives us, as a nation, pride, that’s what gives us that position globally or continentally to say Zimbabwe is a powerhouse.
“It’s because those athletes have performed, it’s not because an administrator is good, it’s about an athlete performing.
“So, let’s make it as best as possible for those athletes, whichever sport code we are looking at, to be able to perform to their maximum.’’
The outgoing ZOC chief said it has been an exciting experience, working with the National Olympic Committee.
However, she did not reveal her next stop although she said she will continue pursuing her passion, which is sport.
“What I am hoping to do, going forward, is to continue working in sport, development activities.
“Regrettably, I cannot say anything at this moment in time but to say I will still be contributing to sport on a very large scale both locally and, hopefully, further afield.
“But, I just feel it’s also important, in terms of revitalisation of the organisation, that they look at bringing in some new blood, some new ideas.
‘’There is a new norm and part of it is just bringing in people who have those approaches, those ideas, and I am so excited to be a part of this transition of ZOC over the next couple of months.
“This is my family. The Olympic movement is my family, so I am not leaving in anyway, I will be with my family and all the stakeholders that are involved in many roles.
“I still have many roles. I am still involved in education, I am not going to give that up but I am just taking on some different challenges,” Mguni said.