Lack of Funding Crippling Sports
The lack of adequate funding for sports at the Midlands State University has led to the slow development of sports at the institute. Only the outstanding performances of the individual students can be noted in different sporting disciplines.
Lack of proper facilities and infrastructure is one of the major stumbling blocks in the development of sports at MSU. Some of the sporting disciplines that are being played, the students have to improvise, as there is no proper infrastructure for them to use.
Team sports like rugby, cricket, netball and individual sports like table tennis, field events like long jump, triple-jump, discus and javelin, don’t have their own fields, they all use the football pitch.
There is the case of deteriorating infrastructure that is taking the authorities ages to repair. The case of the basketball court that needed resurfacing and new rings, the repairs started last year and it is now two semesters and the court is only half resurfaced, whilst the other half is still gravel and the rings that had been put didn’t meet the standards, so there are yet to removed and replaced by the correct ones. Mr. T Ndlela the Assistant sports director said “The rings that they put didn’t meet the Olympic standards, so we told them change.”
The swimming pool has not been in use for about four years. Also the tennis court is in bad state to. The assistant sports director said, “Those in charge assured them that by the end of 2005 all the infrastructure that was being repaired would be finished.” Mr. Ndlela referred all questions about the state of infrastructure to the Director of Works. Unfortunately he could not be reached for comment.
The determination shown by MSU students when it comes to sports is second to none as they try by all means to represent their university in different sporting disciplines and excel. The basketball team is the champions of the Midlands Province; recently they came second at the just ended Zimbabwe University Students Association games (ZUSA). They will also play in the National Basketball League and they will be going to the Zimbabwe Tertiary Institute Sports Union (ZTISU) that are going to be held in Bulawayo. They have achieved all this despite using a make shift court at the tennis courts.
The university came first overly at the just ended ZUSA games this further shows the determination of MSU students that they let nothing come between them and winning.
Some of the sporting disciplines that are affiliated to their mother bodies and play in the respective leagues are football to the ZIFA and play in the Second Division, the volleyball team Zimbabwe Volleyball Association and play the national league and recently the cricket team will be affiliated to the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC). Mr. Ndlela confirmed “We signed an agreement with ZC which will see ZC provide a coach for the team, help with the construction of the cricket ground behind the construction site.”
Some of the sportsmen interviewed had this to said they don’t like the way sports is treated and run by the university authorities. Some of them sited the case of Bindura University of Science where a day has been set aside for sports. Mr. Ndlela said “This was not necessary as the university currently don’t have the infrastructure to house many sporting discipline, and also there is a clause in the university requirement that exempts students participating in sports from lectures, in the case that the class wrote a test, the sports director will write a letter to the lecturer.”
It seems that most of the sportsmen are not happy about the state of the sporting infrastructure and also by the way they are treated when they go to fulfill a league match in the case of teams that play in the different leagues. The basketball captain Angus Muzvidziwa said “The university usually provide transport to league matches but it didn’t provide them with food and a medical kit.” This was also echoed by the assistant sports director “It is true that the university does not provide them with food for league outings as they do when they go for tournaments like ZUSA and ZTISU.” He goes further and said “Sometimes I use my money to buy oranges for the soccer basketball teams on several occasions.” Craft Chadambuka confirmed.
Mr. Ndlela also said “It was a cause for concern as the university bought a state of the art equipment that is lying idle because we have no way to house it as the gym has been turned into lecture room.” The university has launched a sports degree through the Faculty of Social Science, Sports and Leisure Management, which will be launched any time soon.
He said “It is the aim of the University to see the introduction of other sporting disciplines like hockey, badminton, squash, and women football and the likes if the infrastructure is developed.”