The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) on Thursday successfully hosted a National Recreation and Wellness Conference at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare.
By SportBrief Reporter
The conference was attended by stakeholders from across different sporting codes as well as members of the Tertiary Education and the City Council.
Running the theme theme “Unlocking Recreation and Wellness Potential for Socio-Economic Development” , the one day event touched on various issues that were deemed critical for the success of sport and recreation in the country.
One of the speakers, the President of the Sport Leaders Institute of Zimbabwe Russell Mhiribidi, touched on the role of Recreation and Sport as a Socio-Political Tool in the society.
“Sport and politics are intertwined whether we like it or not. For instance, if an athlete representing Zimbabwe excels it becomes less about that particular person and more about our national pride as we all get behind that individual,” he said.
“Sport can also be used for reconciliation as it transcends race and political affiliation as we saw with the South African national rugby team of 1994 when the country had just ended apartheid. It is a way in which people of different opinions can be unified to support a common cause.”
The SRC Acting Director General Joseph Muchechetere touched on the commercial viability of a well functional sports sector using examples of countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
“If we look at countries like the UK and USA, they generate billions of dollars from their sporting activities alone, which contributes significantly to their GDP. We, in Zimbabwe, have the potential to do likewise if we properly structure our sports sector,” he said.
“We need a functional recreational department to excel in sports like what France is doing at the ongoing World Cup tournament in Russia.”
Speaking on behalf of the guest of honour, the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kazembe Kazembe, the ministry’s permanent secretary Benson Dube said, “This conference is a positive step in developing the Sport and Recreational sector in the country hence I would like to commend you on this initiative.”
“In the same vein, sport and recreational development also encourages investment in infrastructural development of facilities in the society which uplifts communities as well.”
“Very soon we will be doing periodic surveys across the country to ascertain the contribution of sport to the GDP as we aim to reap economic benefits from sport as a nation.”
The SRC board chairman, Edward Siwela, also added that one of the key ingredients for a successful sport sector was good governance.
“Good governance imparts long term sustainability as well as attracting sponsorships from companies. There needs to be transparency in sporting associations or otherwise the sponsors will not come because they fear their money will not be put to good use,” he said.