HERE we go again.
A new Zimbabwean sporting year is upon us and, as we reflect on the past and move into a new age, I cannot help but feel dismayed to realise how our major codes are all still in limbo as we start again.
All are without national team coaches, under leaderships that are at sixes-and-sevens, absolutely clueless as to where to take the sports they are governing.
As for football, they also do not have a stadium to talk about in the whole country. Last year the nation had to suffer the greatest humiliation of playing home games in another country. Five months away from the return of World Cup qualifiers,
there has been no movement in that area.
The mayor of the opposition-controlled Harare has announced that the city’s oldest ground, Rufaro, will re-open in February in time for the capital’s biggest derby. The outmoded stadium still looks the same as it was before it was shut for “refurbishment” moons ago. What a joke, Mr Mayor.
But when you are surrounded by poor governance all round at national level, it is easy to be drowned in the sea of mediocrity.
A government that fails renovate a single ground it owns will not be moved to build a brand new one. Its high-ranking officials, including the state President, even find no shame in falling over each other at the official opening of a modern stadium built at fast pace by an individual.
I write this after watching Zimbabwe’s national cricket team being beaten heavily by Sri Lanka to lose the T20 series 2-1, an anti-climax end to a tour the Chevrons were largely competitive.
But then again, this is the story of Zimbabwean cricket these days and if there is any radical action to be taken with the team as threatened in December by the head of the board Tavengwa Mukuhlani, I would like it to be drastic in the true sense of the word.
Too often in the past decade or so we have seen very promising youngsters, genuinely gifted players, coming into the Zimbabwe side and in time get swallowed by the environment they find in that group.
It is so super-gratifying that Richard Ngarava has refused to catch the bug and has continued to develop himself into a bowler of potentially world-class qualities.
I would like to see Brian Bennett and Tapiwa Mufudza do the same, but that is not guaranteed if, like other talented newcomers before them, are surrounded by seniors who have lived in a comfort zone for too long.
There is nothing to lose now after this tour, surely. It is time to throw caution to the wind and introduce the sweeping changes.
It is one of those necessary measures owed to the country as we watch 2024 unfold.