Government has thrown its weight behind the Zambezi Cheetahs following their qualification to the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament.
By Carlo Chikomba
Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Makhosini Hlongwane praised the Zambezi Cheetahs promising his ministry’s unwavering support. The team was given a hero’s welcome with a dinner held in honour of their victory in Uganda.
Speaking at the dinner held in the capital on Monday, Minister Hlongwane said, ““I am compelled to making it known that the government will commit its unwavering support to all the efforts you are making to put the sport sector on the limelight, particularly rugby. As government, we will ensure that we keep you going by all means and that in the process you will continue to be the sources of our national pride.”
The Minister also hailed the Cheetahs’ vigilant efforts for weathering the inhouse storms rocking the rugby administration recently.
“As I make this declarations of our mandate to support rugby in Zimbabwe, I am sure you are aware of the many challenges affecting the sport. However, I am happy that beyond these odds our Cheetahs have made a remarkable milestone,” he added.
News of the Cheetahs’ World Cup qualification will certainly provide a bright spark in an otherwise tumultuous period for local Rugby, with the fraternity having been dogged by incessant infighting that culminated in the subsequent dismissal of the Zimbabwe Rugby Union few months ago.
Hlongwane also said that the Cheetahs’ success will attract some much needed corporate sponsorship for the sport and in the same vein urged other rugby clubs to remain focused in the face of the ongoing squabbles within the sport.
“This recent success activates sponsor confidence to the game of rugby regardless of the house-keeping issues affecting the sector. Therefore, I would like to encourage other clubs in the country not to be deterred by the challenges at hand so that we refocus and restore the mandate of rugby in fostering community participation in sport and recreation,” he said.