Zim football is inspiring
Zimbabwe is a country that has been portrayed in very bad light by a lot of media houses but my experience gave me a totally different insight. Having visited the country twice in the past month I can say I fell in love with the country.
The Asiagate scandal put a huge dent in Zimbabwe football in general, as so many players and coaches were affected by suspensions and the odd life bans. When all is said and done, though, I still see a bright future for Zimbabwe football, which is growing and is definitely one of the best teams in Africa now.
Zimbabwe might have not made it to Afcon 2013 but this is a team that deserved it. They only faltered at the last hurdle but their time will surely come.
I had the privilege of attending their league matches and especially the Mbada Diamonds Cup final where the famous Dynamos beat Monomotapa 2-0 at the Rufaro Stadium. The mood that day in Harare was awesome, as the very passionate fans came to the stadium from as early as 9am, draped in their team colours singing and drumming as a local band filled the stadium with music.
Zimbabwe football is at a high level and the talent exhibited was the best I have seen in a long time. The exciting Denver Mukamba of Dynamos and Monomotapa's Ronald Chitiyo made the day. I have come to understand why so many teams seek the services of the Zimbabwean players, who are so sharp on the ball and mesmerise the crowds with their skills.
One phenomenon that caught my eye, and excited me as well, was the sponsors of the beautiful game. The sponsorship there is like no other and the Mbada Diamonds Company pumped $2.5 million into the annual tournament that started in 2011. From this the winners received money to help with their Caf Champions League matches while the runners up went home with a fair amount as well.
When I make comparisons to where I come from, in East Africa, the prize money cannot be compared to what is on offer in Zimbabwe. The sponsors have given football a lifeline, despite the ups and downs in the game.
It would be wrong not to speak about the passionate fans who made my day, both men, women and children, as they gave their teams support and showed they clearly love their game, despite the problems.
For Zimbabwe, the sky is the limit and they surely deserve better. They have put emphasis on development of talent. The Zimbabwe football sponsorship must be emulated by other corporates across the continent. I hope to go back to Zim when the season starts again.