Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor

SPORT authorities from every sector have been challenged to invoke their knowledge of International Relations of Sport to try and engage the global community in calling for the removal of illegal sanctions that have badly hurt the Zimbabwean economy including sport.

Speaking ahead of the Sadc Anti- Sanctions Day on Sunday the Zimbabwe Golf Association administrative assistant and former Sports and Recreation Commission communications officer Tirivashe Nheweyembwa said it was high time that the sporting community stood up and be counted in publicly calling for the unconditional removal of the sanctions as the embargo has had a negative effect on the sport in the country.

He said before the sanctions were imposed there were partners such as UK Sport, Canadian Sport Development Programme working in Zimbabwe to support various programmes such as the Youth Education through Sport (YES) programme but all these were lost.

There was also Volunteer Overseas Organization (British Organization) which used to deploy highly technical staff to work with local personnel as a way of skills transfer but again all that was lost upon the imposition of sanctions.

“On the other end it also means that if we have athletes who had opportunities in lets say United Kingdom or Australia these may be affected. Previously it used to be easy to go on tour to those countries but now sport teams are subjected to stringent visa vetting procedures like a normal visitor. What needs to happen is that the relevant authorities in sport should work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade so that together they can push the reengagement agenda, sport authorities must invoke their knowledge of International Relations of Sport and not to leave it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade alone,” said Nheweyembwa .

He said by its nature, sport is supposed to be used as a unifier especially in situations that the country is finding itself in.

The sport sector through the National Sport Associations should work towards having friendlies with the countries which have imposed sanctions on us and that way we can begin to make a positive impact.

Ultimately we will begin to see change of stance and hardline position but it needs the sportspeople to actively take the initiative as there is hope and enthusiasm that in the end victory will be enjoyed by all of us not politicians or Government officials as some people seem to believe,” said Nheweyembwa.