Storm brewing over management of sporting facilities


Tawanda Marwizi

Three government ministries are reportedly at each other’s throats over management of Zimbabwe’s main stadiums and other sporting facilities across the country.

The ministries – Local Government and Public Works, National Housing and Social Amenities and Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation – are fighting to control the facilities.

According to sources, the sports ministry has declared that it has to be in charge of all sporting facilities as local authorities are failing to maintain them.

The ministry is of the view that management and upkeep of stadiums should be under their purview and not local authorities or any other state departments. In the wake of condemnation of the facilities by the Confederation of African Football, they added, Zimbabwe was in a quandary.

“Let’s have all stadia and sports facilities run and administered by the Ministry of Youth because the latest development was an embarrassment to the nation,” a senior official in the ministry said in an interview.

Minister Kirsty Coventry has been on a nationwide tour of some of the facilities visiting such places like Magamba Hockey Stadium, Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex and others.

The official from the sports ministry said handing over the facilities to them was the only viable option to ensure growth in sport.

Youths, Sport, Arts and Recreation deputy minister Tinomuda Machakaire, although refusing to comment much about the development, said the proposal had been made to them.

There, however, seems to be confusion over which ministry should administer the sporting facilities between the departments.

The department of public works (Local Government and Public Works) has a mandate to develop the facilities while the department of social amenities (Housing and Social Amenities) has a say in what happens at the same.

The department of local government in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works administers the stadiums such as Rufaro and Babourfields through City of Harare and Bulawayo City Council, respectively.

However, there is also an argument that the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation would understand matters affecting sports better through the Sports and Recreation Commission.

CAF last month ruled that Zimbabwe does not have appropriate football facilities to host international matches.

Meanwhile, sports personalities have in the past blamed Harare City Council and Bulawayo City Council for failing to upgrade their stadiums to meet standards set by the international football governing board.

Government has, however, committed to start renovating some of Zimbabwe’s major sporting facilities to meet international standards.

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