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‘Hosting of cricket tourney show of confidence in Zim’

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‘Hosting of cricket tourney show of confidence in Zim’


PRESIDENT Mnangagwa says the country is privileged to be hosting the International Cricket Council(ICC) Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier B, a tournament that gets underway at two venues in Bulawayo from today.

Eight teams are taking to Queens Sports Club and Bulawayo Athletic Club from today, with a champion to be crowned at the end of the tournament on Sunday. Zimbabwe are joined in the tournament by Jersey, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, United States of America and Uganda. The best two teams qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be held in Australia later this year.

Addressing tournament players and officials when he officially opened the tournament at Queens Sports Club yesterday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe feels blessed to be the venue for an event of such international importance.

“As Zimbabwe we count it a privilege to be hosting a tournament of such magnitude and global significance right here in the City of Bulawayo, which is our second largest city. We are greatly humbled that the International Cricket Council has once again afforded us the opportunity to host such an important event,’’ he said.

It is the fifth ICC tournament that the country is hosting in six years, with the biggest of them being the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018. The President said this shows the confidence the ICC has in the country’s favourable atmosphere, which allows for the effective hosting of such events.

“This is the fifth ICC tournament that we are hosting within the last six years. Others have included the Africa regional women’s competitions as well as the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2018 and most recently the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier held lst year. This shows the confidence which the International Cricket Council has in Zimbabwe’s conducive environment, which enables the successful hosting of such important events,” said President Mnangagwa.

“To this end, I want to commend the leadership of ZC and other sporting stakeholders and partners, both local and international who have supported our journey as a cricket playing nation, even during difficult years. The fact that eight teams participating at this tournament, Hong Kong, Jersey, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Uganda, the United States of America and of course Zimbabwe, are drawn from the different continents, is set to add diversity and jamboree atmosphere to this sporting duel.’’

President Mnangagwa said the coming in of teams from all over the world is a confirmation that sport plays an important role in bringing people together.

“ Sport plays a very important role in uniting people from diverse backgrounds and speaks to us all in a language we all understand. You speak different languages where you are but you all understand cricket language. Although the stakes are extremely high, with the winners set to take up the two remaining places at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 to be staged in Australia later this year, I trust that you will all enjoy the event and exhibit fair play and the great sportsmanship which cricket is renowned for. As you will discover in the next few days, ours is a country where cricket is more than a game but an enduring fashion among our youth and adult fans alike,’’ said President Mnangagwa.

When Zimbabwe hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, thousands of fans packed Queens Sports Club and Harare Sports Club to support the Zimbabwean team. Based on that experience, the President assured the participating teams of a festival atmosphere during this tournament.

“Some may recall that the last time our nation had the privilege of hosting a tournament of this magnitude, thousands of fans packed our stadia singing and dancing, chanting and clapping undeterred even when it rained. Based on that background, you are all assured of very lively spectators in our carnival atmosphere that is uniquely Zimbabwean.”

In order to ensure that local sportspersons are afforded an enabling environment in which they can prosper, President Mnangagwa highlighted that his administration was coming up with a policy to encourage the all-encompassing involvement of all formerly sidelined communities.

“The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to providing an environment which allows sportspersons from various disciplines to grow and realise their full potential. In doing so, we are determined to leave no one and no place behind in our communities.

“Presently, my administration is formulating the Sport and Recreation Policy which seeks to promote the inclusive participation of previously marginalised communities in our country. This is aimed at remodelling our sporting sector into an inclusive and viable industry,”said President Mnangagwa.

He said he hoped in future, the ICC will further strengthen relations with ZC in the form of wide ranging collaborations and provisions.

“Going forward, I hope that the ICC will strengthen its cooperation with Zimbabwe Cricket through broader synergies and support. The hosting of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier B 2022 is indeed a show of confidence and support in the strides Zimbabwe is making towards the development of cricket, not only in our country but on the African continent as a whole. Let me take this opportunity to express my appreciation for Zimbabwe’s nomination to host the ICC Men’s World Cup 2027 alongside our neighbour South Africa and Namibia. As a Government, we stand kitted out, pads, gloves and helmets on to play our part towards the success of that event in 2027,’’ said the President.

The official opening ceremony was attended by Minister of Defence and War Veterans Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri; Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry; her deputy Tino Machakaire, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Bulawayo, Judith Ncube, Deputy Chief Secretary for social services sector Paul Damasane, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Raj Modi, Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani, the organisation’s managing director Givemore Makoni, director of Sport and Recreation in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Eugenia Chidakwa and ICC tournament director Gurjit Singh among other officials.

All the participating teams were also present at the ceremony which now paves way for the matches to start today. Herald

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