Hlong­wane en­gages Bri­tish am­bas­sador

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Harare Bureau

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

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