Hands-off athletes in camp, media told

Sports journalists have been told to desist from interfering in athletes business during camping period as it disrupts team members from focusing on their mandate, a government official has said.

By Tongai Mwenje

Speaking during a welcome dinner hosted for the victorious Zambezi Cheetahs, the Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Makhosini Hlongwane said he never understands why athletes in camp should be seen on national television yet they should be immersed in the spirit of delivering their duties.

“I always never understand when the athletes are in camp and you see them on Television, I always never understand it, how do people that are in camp end up on TV?” he asked rhetorically.

“How does that happen I don’t get it? When we are in camp, we are in camp isn’t it? We must not be disrupted and media cannot just be allowed to come any time into camp and run away with whatever preparations that you are making,” he said.

As a lecture to the interim Rugby board led by Russell Karimazondo, the minister said there must be a systematic way of running sports business to avoid unnecessary media attention.

“ What am I saying, this is a challenge to you Russell, Blessing and your team to make sure that things are done properly. Systems are in place and functional and are followed and I think that is very important. If we don’t do that we run the risk of having the media running riot and draw circles all around you and that is not necessary. So let’s understand these things and do them properly,” he lectured.

Interim Rugby Board Chairman Russell Karimazondo
Interim Rugby Board Chairman Russell Karimazondo

Many a time athletes are seen on Television doing their preparations to communicate with their followers that they are raring to go. The Minister’s sentiments may dampen the spirit of the media who would want to provide as much coverage for the athletes as possible.

While the minister was saying the media should not be allowed to interfere with athletes in camp, the Zambezi Cheetahs captain Donald Mangenje on the same stage praised the media for their coverage and asked for more ahead of the prestigious 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament.

Meanwhile, the government has pledged unwavering support for the Zambezi Cheetahs who managed to hoist the National flag high in Uganda following their qualification for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament.

“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 pledged.

The squad gave its best in its expedition to book a ticket for the prestigious global rugby showcase. They dispensed Senegal by 17:5, before beating Mauritius and Botswana by 21:7 each. They then lost to Madagascar by 17:15 but the result had no effect as they had already booked a quarter-finalist place.

In the quarterfinal they booted out Tunisia by 17:12 to book a semifinal spot where they dismissed Madagascar by 21:12. The final encounter with the hosting team, Uganda was a tough one as they succumbed to a 7:10 defeat. The eventual result brought the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament good news.

Tongai Mwenje

Tongai Mwenje is a Senior Editor with Zimbabwe's largest online sports magazine Sportbrief www.sportbrief.co.zw. He has been writing professionally since 2012 and currently writes for technology and sport blogs. He has vast experience in digital marketing, sports reporting and analysis. He is also a Sports and Technology columnist with Financial Gazette Online Sports Column and Technology Magazine respectively.

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