Sport Leaders Institute Zimbabwe (SLIZ), a local non-governmental organisation will this week hold its fifth sport management winter camp workshop aimed at empowering local sport administrators and coaches with necessary administrative skills.
By Tongai Mwenje
The two day workshop will be held in Victoria Falls from the 6th to the 7th of July 2018.
Addressing journalists during a press conference held in the capital on Tuesday, the organisation’s founding president Russell Maradza Mhiribidi said that the vision of S.L.I.Z is to develop professional and knowledgeable sports leaders whose skills enable them to fit into the international sports market.
Having realised that issues affecting sports are more or less the same, the organisation came up with initiatives like the Sport Management Winter and Summer camp workshops to empower the local sports administrators.
“We have noted that issues affecting sports are generally the same, if it is issues to do with ethics, it is the same, if its to do with resources, it is the same and if it is maladministration it is the same. The only difference is that those mass sports are more magnified in terms of media coverage than the smaller or developing codes. So we have noted that if we came together as an institute outside the dictates of maybe the Sports and Recreation Commission and Ministry of Sports,” he explained.
Clearing fears that the organization could be a direct competitor to local sports watchdog, Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), Mhiribidi said the SRC and its parent ministry serve government interests the organisation respect.
“We know that the Ministry of Sports and Sports Commission serve government interests in the development of sports and we respect them. But as sports leaders we also have got our issues that we feel we should be able to articulate and put across and try to also assist. In short we are to the sports industry what private schools and hospitals are to their respective ministries.”
Mhiribidi gave a brief about the little known organisation which have been in operation since 2013.
” For some of you who don’t know much about Sport Leaders Institute Zimbabwe,it is a sport NGO registered in July 2013 by some of the nations’s finest Sport administrators and coaches who realized the need for the nations Sports Leaders to come together and share ideas on generic Sports development issues,” he explained.
“This is our fifth year but we didn’t start with 200 people. In fact, our first camp was in 2014 at Mazvikadei, where we had prepared for 40 people who had paid for the camp but we ended up having 5 people coming. That did not stop us and we went through with the camp with those 5 people. From then on the numbers have been increasing as those 5 people became our ambassadors and we have been steadily growing. Last time we had about 300 people for our summer camp at Kariba.”
The former SRC official said he was proud to have attracted some Premier Soccer League teams.
“Now we are very proud to be associated with Premier Soccer League teams like Ngezi Platinum, FC Platinum and the premier soccer league is now sending representatives to our programs and also other institutions like the Rugby association of Zimbabwe are now appreciating us. Also representatives from other district councils like Ruwa are coming to take part.”
The course is pegged at a minimum of $500 with the price also dependent on the type of package.This year the organisation has decided to scale even greater heights by partnering with an internationally recognized institute in the University of Western Virginia which is in the United States of America.
Therefore, this year’s winter camp will be headlined by a key speaker from the American university, the visiting international sport management guru, Professor Gonzalo Bravo.
Professor Bravo confirmed the development, adding that both parties were in the process of signing a Memorandum of Association.
“We are in the process of signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Western Virginia and the institute of Zimbabwe. Our collaboration is to provide support in the area of continued education. We believe it’s something needed in every area of the world.
“This partnership will also facilitate for people from Zimbabwe to come to the United States so they see how sport management is done in our country for maybe one month or so.”
Professor Bravo added that he was honored to be part of the event reported to attract more than 250 delegates drawn across the nation while in the same vein highlighting his experience in the relative field of sports management.
“I started working for a multi sport club in Chile in 1987 so that’s 31 years (of experience). I worked there for ten years and I became the manager of the Olympic sport team, it’s one of the largest clubs in Chile and that was a significant part of my career and then in 2000 I switched gears and decided I really wanted to understand sport.
“So I went back to school in 2001 and I completed a PHD in sport management for three years so since 2004 when I finished I’ve been teaching about sport management at the University of West Virginia.I’m have been doing some research mostly in Latin America but not in Africa so that’s one of the things that got me interested in Africa. It has a lot of similarities with Latin America, he added.”