ZIMBABWE – The year 2015 will go into history as a year that saw Zimbabwe in sporting crisis.
Team sport was a big disappointment as not only the cricket team but other national teams also turned into punching bags of the international sporting world.
The Mighty Warriors, however, did the nation proud by qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro although that too was nothing to gloat about.
The women’s soccer team qualified after beating only two teams Zambia and Cameroon following the withdrawal of powerhouses, Equatorial Guinea who were expected to run over the Zimbabweans.
Mighty Warriors captain Felistus Muzongondi said she was happy to be going to Rio. “I am very happy. This is out first time to qualify for the Olympics, and it’s a first time in history,” said Muzongondi.
However, there were successes in individual sports like boxing, swimming, Special Olympics, and bodybuilding.
Kirsty Coventry won three gold medals at the All Africa Games while Helen Costa Sinclair won the Miss International and Miss Universe titles in Italy and was later on crowned the Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year.
Not to be outdone was boxer Charles Manyuchi, who retained his World Boxing Council silver belt, after systematically knocking down Gianlucca Frezza in his own home country of Italy.
There were celebrations too for the Zimbabwe Special Olympic athletes who went to the World Games in Los Angeles. The Zimbabweans brought back 12 medals – three gold – three silver, and six bronze medals.
WINDS OF CHANGE
The winds of change also blew in the administration and blown away by the wind were Zifa’s Cuthbert Dube who was fired by the Zifa Council and Zimbabwe Cricket’s Wilson Manase who lost his post to Ngoni Mukuhlani in an election.
Dube has since been replaced by Harare businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, who on his part received the confidence of the same Zifa Council with a 40 vote win over Trevor Carelse Juul who could manage only 12 votes.
Chiyangwa promised milk and honey for Zimbabwean football followers. “Do you know how much money I make as a businessman? I am not going into Zifa to waste my time but to do a national service,” said Chiyangwa.
Football though was characterized by tragedy following the death of three of Zimbabwe’s greatest footballers, Willard Mashinkila Khumalo, Paul Gundani, and Freddy Mkwesha.