Scope for growth in Zimbabwe

January 15, 2015

FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather made a recent visit to Zimbabwe where he met with the Hockey Association Zimbabwe (HAZ), Government officials, potential sponsors and visited stadiums and schools.

Hockey in Zimbabwe has the second biggest player base (after football) in the country, a good gender balance and a strong youth foundation in many schools.  Currently, Zimbabwe has three pitches, two in Bulawayo (one water base and one sand filled) and another sand filled at the Arundel School in the capital city of Harare.   Bulawayo has approximately 1,000 hockey players and Harare 8,000.  The majority of these players, are youth players and the club structure is undergoing a major overhaul.  

The first stop on Kelly’s agenda was a visit to the Magamba Hockey Stadium, Harare where he met with Chairman of Sports and Recreation Commission, Edward Siwela and CEO Charles Nhemachena.  While the stadium has a solid infrastructure, it is in need of renovation and an upgrade of the facilities.

He then met individually with Deputy Minister of Sports, Art and Culture, Hon Tabetha Malinga and Secretary of Ministry of Sport, Dr. Thokozile Chitepo and also with the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Hon Mzembi who were all very positive and supportive towards the growth of hockey in Zimbabwe.

Alongside recently elected HAZ President Marl Manolios and Vice President Humphrey Chigwedere, who were with Kelly throughout his trip, Kelly met with potential sponsors, giving him the opportunity to explain the FIH strategy and support for hockey in both Zimbabwe and Africa in general.

Finally, Kelly sat down with the HAZ Executive Board and other stakeholders.  In discussion with the HAZ Board members, school representatives, coaches and athletes, Kelly outlined the strategy of the FIH and stressed the importance that HAZ work on their governance structure and a strategic plan for the next four years.  The meeting also discussed facilities, coaching, sponsors, development of youth and how to maximize Zimbabwe’s strong youth base while building clubs.  

Kelly summarised his visit: “There is plenty of scope for growth in Zimbabwe and the key is to find at least one new pitch if not two in Harare.  My visit showed me how motivated people are to make a positive contribution to hockey in Zimbabwe and at FIH, we are looking at options to support HAZ in this quest.”


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