HARARE – Has anybody noticed how in Zimbabwe we like to bask in the reflected glory of our sports ambassadors, for whom little is done to deliver that success?
This self-serving, disturbing trend has hit our ever dedicated and fiercely patriotic rugby players the hardest.
It brought tears to my eyes yesterday when Rocky Gurumani, one of the country’s decorated players, took to Facebook to pour his frustration over the current state of affairs in the game, five years since he stopped playing and took up coaching in South Africa.
Rocky shared how national team players were fed with sadza and chicken necks for lunch during a camp seven years ago, pointing it out as one the reasons why in his 90-caps international career he participated in three failed World Cup qualification campaigns.
Just in case you might think Rocky is exaggerating, but I personally witnessed that sad episode back in 2006 when I arrived at Old Hararians to cover a training session ahead of a home test, and those memories linger on.
Dear reader, it is not my intention to upset anyone, but the saddest thing is that years down the line, the Sables still enjoy zero support. It’s disgraceful to say the least, and shame on everyone who is capable of doing something but hasn’t done so!
Last year when the Sables clinched the Confederation of African Rugby (Car) championship in Tunisia to be crowned champions of Africa, the whole nation celebrated together, including some in our midst who cared less or knew anything about the bumpy road the team had travelled to reach the destination, and their everyday struggles which they however defied due to the size of their hearts and love for their country.
This week, the Sables were dealt a great blow after news broke out that they will not travel to South Africa for two matches against Valke and Pumas because there is so money to do so.
What betrayal, if not brutality, for a team that has carried the country’s name with great pride like no other and brought glory to the nation for the past two years.
What makes it harder to swallow is that Kenya, a real threat at next month’s Africa Cup in Madagascar, are currently in South Africa for a 10-day elite training camp with Western Province in Cape Town.
Zimbabwe, just across the boarder, had no money for five days!
Where are the team’s partners and where is the Zimbabwe Rugby Union?
In the 10 years I have covered this sport, John Faulkeburg is the quietest ZRU presidents I have known, even making his predecessor, the media shy and unassuming Themba Sibanda, look like a publicity seeker he was not and will never be.
I would like to think it’s John’s style, his way of doing things, but when he finally speaks, which we will try to make him do in the next few days, he must be loud and clear because the nation demands answers.