Hlongwane engages British ambassador
THE Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhosini Hlongwane yesterday met the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing to deliberate on possible areas of co-operation between the two countries.
Laing paid a courtesy call to the Minister of Sport at his offices and they discussed issues around sport.
Hlongwane said their interest lies in football, cricket and rugby and believes the two countries can benefit from each other if they can explore those areas.
“Where we see the opportunity ourselves is in the people-to-people interaction, that being done through sport diplomacy. We see an opportunity in cricket. We also see an opportunity in football. “At those two levels in the sense that we have a lot of young Zimbabweans who are now plying their trade as far as football is concerned in England. We think that is a good thing. “We think that we can take it to a level higher by making sure that there is much closer cooperation in the field of football by getting British clubs to visit here to come and play some of our big teams. “I also know that in respect of rugby there were times when rugby would come here for a summer camp in Zimbabwe and play various teams, same with cricket,” said Hlongwane. The minister of sport said they are also hoping to restore the good relations that once existed between the two countries in cricket. “Cricket, of course, we engaged at the level of the highest form of the game, which is Test as well as all the other structures of the game. “But all these things, because of the sanctions and the difficult in the relationship between Zimbabwe and Britain, kind of froze. “From a sports administration perspective we don’t see why that should be the case.
“Certainly we think that in fact this is one fling that we should keep on glowing. The people to people interaction can be enhanced through that robust engagement through sport.
“We are looking at ECB (England Cricket Board) kind of softening its stance so that it can begin its tours of Zimbabwe.
“We think that is very important for the good of the game of cricket. But it’s also very important for our players as well as their counterparts from Britain,” Hlongwane said.
In response, the British ambassador said they would look into the issues and added that they are also interested on the two countries working together on the Olympics and Paralympics with capacity development of administrators.
“I think on cricket, just generally, we did have Ireland of course who came to play last year and that was a successful tour.
“It includes Northern Ireland so it’s a combined team. And just to sort of make it clear there is no direct link between sanctions and sporting tours.
“My personal view is very simple as that of yours which is people to people interaction is important, not just in sport but also culture.
“There are sort of symbolic issues that, minister, we want to take into account. But I am prepared to hear what you would like to see coming, possible tours coming up. So I am going to take that back and make sure that London is sort of reflecting all this…your position.
“The other area I would want just to come back to is around a follow-up to Olympics, Paralympics and so on because I think there are still things we can do around that,” said Laing. THE Zimbabwe Under-21 hockey team has been knocked out of the Women’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 title chase in Santiago, Chile following a 13-0 loss to world number one Netherlands in their last Pool A match on Sunday.
The country failed to register a single win in their pool matches.
Netherlands topped the group with nine points followed by the United States of America (USA) with six points while South Korea was third with three points.
Zimbabwe crashed to USA 10-0 in their first match and suffered a morale sapping 6-0 defeat against South Korea in their second game.
However, Zimbabwe head coach Patricia Davies said there is no reason to mourn as the competition gave the girls, ranked number 58 in the world, a platform to grow, learn and become a team to watch out for.
“We had the privilege and honour to play against Netherlands, the current world number one ranked team and our girls did not disappoint.
“The girls played with so much courage, heart and commitment for 70 minutes and never gave up or slowed down until that final whistle blew. The girls held off Netherlands for 10 minutes before the first goal went in. We fought hard but the sheer skill and talent of the Netherlands shone through and at half time we were 9-0 down,” she said.
“As our girls have been showing us in this tournament, they came into the second half with more fire, more energy and more courage than we knew they had in them. They held Netherlands to a final score of 13-0. An incredible feat and an incredible experience for each player to rub shoulders and play against current and future olympians,” Davies said.
She praised the Zimbabwean goalkeeper Jordan Clipstone for her impressive performance in the game.
“Special mention must go to the Zimbabwe goalie Jordan Clipstone who saved some of the most incredible shots at goal and who had a fantastic performance out there, almost 40 shots were made at us and she saved all but 13. She was incredible,” said Davies.
Meanwhile, USA, Spain and Belgium joined Netherlands and Argentina in the Quarter-Finals following the final Pool A and D matches today.
Minister Makhosini Hlongwane