‘Zim has to take time to develop athletes’


ZIMBABWE needs a long-term developmen plan for athletes to compete effectively on the world stage, a Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) official has said.

Thandiwe Moyo

Speaking to journalists yesterday, ZOC president Admire Masenda said although Zimbabwe had a number of talented athletes, there were no effective programmes to monitor them. He said there was always pressure for athletes to produce medals when they went for competitions without the adequate preparation.

“There is a lot of pressure when we go to the games and we come back medalless, but no one is analysing the preparations,” he said.

“Have we made the investment?

“It cannot just be the athletes who you put together with a year to go and say go out there and get a medal when others have been preparing for eight years.”

Masenda said other countries had elaborate programmes.

He said development was a long-term investment before a country could think of assembling a team for international competitions.

“We have to take long-term developmental view,” he said.

“We are always saying there is a tournament and we assemble a team and try and see if we can qualify. The issue is that it has to be an eight to 12-year programme.

“We have to scout, put a group of youngsters now with a projection of getting to the Olympics in 12 years as what happened in the era of Peter (Ndlovu) and his team. That was youth development programme whether it was by design or not.”

Musenda said until that was done, as a country we would not get anywhere in terms of sports development.

“Administrators are under so much pressure to deliver today when the preparation has not been done,” he said.

“We have to say as a country we want to qualify for the World Cup in 12 years and a programme is put in place. In the meantime, what we should be looking at is backing and monitoring the team and the progress it makes.”

He said the Sport, Arts and Culture ministry’s National Sports Policy is critical in the development of sport in the country.

Masenda said there had to be a co-ordination of the tournaments that the athletes take part in from school to professional level so that they are monitored.

“Each set of games must feed to something,” he said.

“We had the Youth Games in Masvingo how many that won medals there competed in the Youth Games (African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games) here.

“Did we tell the nation that some of the athletes won? Everything is done in isolation. What is the plan for that team that came second and the netball team that won gold?

“There must be a build-up for each event or tournament. Everything has to feed into something qualify for All-Africa Games or Olympic Games.”