Varsities need US sports model

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Godwin Marima and Kumbirai Mutengo Midlands State University

WHILE most university students are pre-occupied with succeeding in their academics, they are creating a huge gap in sports participation.

Time is a precious commodity for university students, but many fail to use it wisely. Managing one’s time judiciously becomes critical especially if one is engaging in many activities which require time to attend to all of them.

There are some students who fail to create time for themselves to participate in sporting activities, yet it is essential for one to keep both body and mind fit.

Students often become so involved in their studies to the extent they exclude sport, failing to appreciate that sport is of equal importance for one in order to pursue a balanced life.

The number of students participating in sports at tertiary and university levels tends to decrease and the explanation rendered is that there is enormous pressure to attend to academics.

The situation is made complex when campus weekend activities such as church meetings, clubs and partying are factored in.

While the national lockdown has brought the shutters on most sporting activities, there are some who are working around the impediment, with eyes focused on the day the curtains will go up, signaling the restart to sporting calendar.

For example, University of Zimbabwe (UZ) rugby captain, Ambrose Sakala, who is a final year Geography and Environmental Science student, continues to train in his Mount Pleasant neighbourhood alongside fellow sports persons Ray Jamera and Tinotenda Chikwama.

Great Zimbabwe University’s Nomagugu Ndlovu, a Media and Cultural Studies student, has learnt to balance her studies and her love for sports.

Female students from the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) are fond of basketball. The sport is associated with Hip-Hop culture.

Most of the students interviewed during the course of compiling this report say they were inspired by international sports personalities.

However, HIT’s Food Processing and Technology student, Faith Tawandirwa believes that there is no nexus between the sport and hip-hop unlike in the US and neither is it the glitter of basketball glamourized by US stars. She, however, admits to being inspired by the late Kobe Bryant. She plays for Lady Lyn Basketball Club.

Another HIT student and Lady Lynx player, Edelyn Manyanga, says she was influenced greatly by Arike Ogunbowale, who plays for Notre Dame College and Dallas Wings in the Women’s National Basketball Association in the US.

Players of the gentlemen’s game, cricket, say they are concerned about the state of Zimbabwe cricket, with UZ cricket players suggesting that there is need to create a university cricket league.

Team captain, Tariro Kapungu, is concerned about the lack of facilities for students interested in playing cricket.

Says UZ cricketer, Costa Zhou: “I would like to appeal to the Zimbabwe University Sports Association board to create a University Cricket League that runs throughout the year.”

Former National University of Science and Technology (NUST) cricket captain, Bryan Zhawi, who represented Zimbabwe at the Red Bull 2019 World Cup held in Sri Lanka, is confident that the sport is improving and chances are high for the sport to bounce back in time for the 2024 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.

Students participating in sports at university level say they are motivated by the principles of unity and teamwork – characteristics evident in some of the greatest sports persons.

“Unity,” according to GZU’s Nomagugu Ndlovu, “builds success and the success story has always been associated with hard work.”

However, US socialite, Dereck Jeter, associated with the NBA and hip-hop culture, asserts: “There may be people with more talent than you, but there is no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”