VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says sports is underfunded and needs corporate sponsorship to achieve its goals.
The vice-president was speaking at a fundraising dinner dance for Zimbabwe’s only representative in Africa, FC Platinum, that was held at a Harare hotel on Friday night.
Mnangagwa is the patron of FC Platinum.
FC Platinum now falls under the rebranded FC Platinum Holdings after being weaned off by owners Mimosa Mining Company who, however, remain their main and principal sponsors.
“I have been advised that the team has been successfully weaned from its umbilical cord, Mimosa Mining Company, and have realised self sustenance through FC Platinum Holdings,” Mnangagwa said.
“It has metamorphosed into a successful business and was well on its way to becoming not only one of the leading brands in Zimbabwe, but in Africa, just as it has envisioned.
“The question now is how to ensure that our nation succeeds in producing a high calibre of sportsmen who can make a living from their diverse talents.
This is more so as we are in an environment where business has generally been reticent in supporting sport in general, and soccer in particular. There is now need for a mindset shift so that we regard sporting talent as highly as we do in intellectual prowess.
“Sport, therefore, needs corporate sponsorship and support to flourish. In Zimbabwe, it would be a fair assessment that we have highly talented sportsmen, who excel in their various disciplines.
“Our cricket team, currently at the World Cup in New Zealand, received overwhelming reviews for their efforts though they lost in the first game.
“In soccer, we have only qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations twice since Independence, yet with ample support from the corporate world we could have featured more times than that.
He added: “Corporate sector and mining companies in particular have a role to play in helping young people discover their talent and shine.
“I, therefore, urge you to dig deep into your pockets to not only make FC Platinum’s Caf Confederation Cup bid a success, but the nation’s hopes for a spot on Africa’s sport and business and reality.
“Let us all come together to promote this game that we so love, a game that has been known to transcend and break all social barriers, uniting people from diverse backgrounds.”