BULAWAYO – Next year’s Zone XI Games to be hosted by Zimbabwe presents the chance of a lifetime for the city of Bulawayo to improve its sporting infra-structure.
We understand the regional sporting showcase will result in the upgrading of a number of sporting facilities and these include all the city’s three major football stadia namely Barbourfields, Luveve and White City Stadium, Bulawayo Athletics Club and the Bulawayo Municipal Swimming Pool.
It is our hope that the refurbishments will include state of the art media facilities because this is one area that has been neglected for a long time and yet it was the major reason why Zimbabwe was denied an opportunity to host the African Nations Cup football showpiece in 2000.
There will be hordes of journalists from different countries covering the games and we have no choice but to put up media facilities.
The good thing is that all the venues that will be spruced up are places that are already being used by various sporting disciplines.
This raises hope that they will continue to be put to good use after the regional games have come and gone unlike what happened to structures like the Khumalo and Magamba Hockey Stadiums and the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex that have since become white elephants.
The above were constructed for use during the All – Africa Games way back in 1995 but sadly have been underutilized ever since.
But the biggest development that is set to ensure that the Zone XI Games will leave a lasting legacy in Zimbabwe has to be the construction of residential hostels at the University of Science and Technology which will house athletes that will grace the regional showcase.
These will automatically become students’ quarters within the campus and will come in handy when national athletics meets are held at the university in future.
It is our hope that tenders to effect the construction and refurbishment of the said venues will be awarded to competent companies and not fly by night operators who will shortchange the country.
The country has been lagging behind when it comes to sporting infra-structure development and such an opportunity should not be wasted.
We therefore urge the responsible authorities not to take their eyes off the ball because the Zone XI Games are meant to provide a platform for the growth of sport and the availability of modern stadia is the first step towards achieving that.