MATABELELAND North’s Zimbabwe National Youth Games’ team is in shambles three days before teams are meant to converge in Masvingo for the youth showpiece with only three sports codes being selected to take part.
Out of a possible 250 athletes and officials, Matabeleland North will only be sending about 26 from athletics, boxing and netball.
The Youth Games will be held from August 16 to 24 in Masvingo Province. Matabeleland North Sports and Recreation Commission provincial sports co-ordinator Newman Masuku confirmed.
“We are failing to raise money to send a full contingent to the Youth Games. We will only be sending three sport codes and they are in camp at the moment.
“We selected athletics, netball and boxing because these are our medal harvest fields,” Masuku said.
He said the province had not done well in the team sports in the past and netball was selected because of the two teams in the Zimbabwe Netball Super League, ZPC Hwange and Hwange Queens.
“We have approached everyone to assist, but we have failed to get assistance. Even if we were to get a million dollars today we would not be able to send a full strength team because our preparations started last week.
At the moment we are trying to raise $6 000 to send the athletes that we selected,” Masuku said. He said they did not leave the fundraising until late, but started last year.
Masuku said they had approached major companies in Hwange which include Hwange Colliery Company.
Last year Matabeleland North who were last in the competition sent a full contingent.
“This year we are going to surprise a lot of people. I have hope that the athletes that we selected will perform well. However, we are sending a distress call to everyone to assist us with the resources. We need to raise funds to transport the athletes,” Masuku said.
Initially the province had budgeted $12 500 to transport the athletes, but have only managed to raise $2 500 which will be used for affiliation fees.
Meanwhile, Matabeleland South will be sending 200 athletes who will take part in almost all sporting disciplines except tennis and basketball.
SRC provincial co-ordinator Lifa Mpofu said they had tried to raise enough funding, but had failed.
“We tried, but it was difficult approaching the corporates. We are being bailed out by other people that is why we are able to send the athletes,” he said.
This year’s edition of the games will be used as a platform to select a team that will compete in the African Union Sports Council Region V Youth Games which will be held in Bulawayo in December.