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Minister: Olympics Committee Abandoned Mighty Warriors in Harare

  • Michael Kariati

Some Zimbabweans have castigated the national Olympics Committee and Zimbabwe Football Association for dumping the Mighty Warriors when they arrived in Harare last Friday from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The players were bundled into a battered minibus and then later given $5 for transport by local soccer authorities. The Mighty Warriors claim that they were promised $1,000 each for featuring in the Games where they lost all their matches against Canada, Australia and Germany.

Sports Minister Makhosini Hlongwane said it was the responsibility of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee to take care of the Mighty Warriors when they arrived from Rio de Janeiro.

“As for the Mighty Warriors to travel from the airport, it was a matter of ZOC (Zimbabwe Olympics Committee),” said Hlongwane.

Most Zimbabweans blamed the Olympics Committee and ZIFA for the ill-treatment of the Mighty Warriors saying they deserved a better reception than what they went through when they arrived in Harare.

At the same time, there was a huge celebration at the Olympic Games Aquatics Arena as Kirsty Coventry kissed goodbye to the Olympic Games. Family members, friends and relatives, as well as admirers, gathered around the Olympic Games Aquatics Arena in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate Kirsty Coventry’s final bow to the Olympic Games.

There was also a small band of flag-waving Zimbabweans who did not want to be left out of the proceedings of this historic occasion last Friday.

As Coventry appeared for the start of the 200 metre backstroke final, there was a huge roar and cheers in recognition of the fine performances she gave them over the years and the world records she broke in the process.

An emotional Coventry could do nothing but just wave at the crowd. The cheers were even louder after Coventry finished sixth in the final of the 200 metre backstroke, her last competition in her 16 years of association with the Olympic Games.

It was a perfect ending to a 16 year-old career that gave her seven medals - two golds, four silvers, and a bronze, the highest number of Olympic medals by an African athlete.

Sports expert Mathias Kufandirimbwa said the sixth place was a happy ending to a glittering career.

“She has done well considering the people she was contesting with. Age has taken its toll, it’s now time for her to rest,” said Kufandirimbwa.

Kufandirimbwa said he is worried that the departure of Coventry from the pool could mean the end of swimming in this country.

“We used to have the elite Les Brown and Mt. Pleasant, but there is no water. In actual fact, swimming is dying in the country,” said Kufandirimbwa.

Coventry holds the record of the highest number of medals accrued by any female swimming athlete in the history of the Olympic Games.

With the Rio mission accomplished, it is now time for the queen of the pool to take a rest and concentrate on her new family. After all she has been married for only three years.

There is no happiness in the Zimbabwean Olympics camp after marathon runner Rutendo Nyahora stuttered to a 92nd finish among 187 contestants in the 42 kilometre marathon race.

The Zimbabwean who was taking part in her first ever Olympic Games will be coming back home to tell the people about the intensive heat that she came across in the grueling race.

About 39 of the contestants failed to finish the race.

Another Zimbabwean, Gabriel Mvubvure, failed to come out of his first round heat after finishing sixth in a race that was not even highly competitive.

Today, there is no Zimbabwean in the field of play but on Tuesday Tatenda Tasumba races in the 200 metre competition.

In local football, all the three top teams on the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League standings dropped valuable two points after struggling to draws in their week 19 matches.

FC Platinum were held to a one-all draw by visiting Mutare City Rovers but coach Norman Mapeza attacked the visitors’ saying they did not come to play football but to defend.

“They came here to sit not to play football. They were just stuck in their own half,” said Mapeza.

However, Kugona Kunenge Kudada still remain two points ahead of Caps United with 39 points from 19 games.

Caps United also dropped points after they were held a goalless draw by Hwange. This came after their players had initially boycotted travelling for the game due to unpaid bonuses.

Dynamos fell to their fifth draw in six matches after a disappointing 1-1 with Bulawayo City which has left their fans in shock.
The other results were as follows…

Chapungu 0 ZPC Kariba 1
Harare City 2 Border Strikers 0
Ngezi Platinum Stars 0 How Mine 2
Tsholotsho 0 Triangle 1

Reporting for Studio Seven in Harare, this is Michael Kariati