THE government has once again laid bare its lack of seriousness towards sports after it offered boxer Charles Manyuchi just a 100 litres of fuel valued at $150 as support for the boxer ahead of his World Boxing Council (WBC) title fight in Lusaka next month.
Manyuchi was hoping for substantial support from the government, but he was shocked to discover the Sport ministry had arranged just the fuel for him to travel by road to Lusaka.
The 27-year-old, who is preparing for his second defence of the WBC Welterweight title against the world number seven-ranked David Avanesyan of Russia on March 28, said the government was not doing enough to support him.
Sport minister Andrew Langa was scheduled to officiate at the send-off and “sponsorship” handover ceremony, but he did not turn up. The event culminated in disappointment and embarrassment for the talented boxer.
The ceremony was delayed by an hour as other sponsors, the media and Manyuchi’s team waited for the minister who later sent his principal director Martin Dube who said the minister had “to attend to other commitments”.
Manyuchi, a two-time WBC welterweight champion and African Union Boxing champion believes he deserves better recognition and once again lashed out at the ministry for abandoning him.
“I want to thank the Zambians because they have been supporting me and now I’m even shy to constantly thank them as if I’m Zambian,” Manyuchi told our sister paper NewsDay Sport on the sidelines of the sendoff ceremony.
“I think Zimbabwe should do something because as it stands it is Zambia who are doing everything for me. Zambia is the best. I think they deserve to have me as a citizen. But I’m not going to change my citizenship, I think they deserve to have me because of the way they are supporting me. It makes me so sad because I feel like I don’t have a country of my own.”
There are a few local companies who have come forward to support Manyuchi, including Absolute Sports, Kenlink, Mr T35 and Body Active gym, but Manyuchi feels he deserves more.
“These local companies who have come forward to support me have done their best because they are small companies,” he said.
“I really appreciate their effort, but I think I deserve more from big companies and the government. I haven’t received anything from the government, not even a single cent. The last time they promised me heaven, but I didn’t get even dust. It’s so sad.”
Relations between Manyuchi and the Sport minister Andrew Langa are not well, with the boxer accusing the minister of blocking his bid to meet President Robert Mugabe.
Manyuchi, who is the current sportsperson of the year, has since last year been pushing to meet Mugabe, but he says his efforts have been frustrated by Langa, the person is supposed to facilitate the meeting.