A study into Zimbabwe’s potential of taking sports as a business found that the country still has some ground to cover. When you compare their sports organization and different tournaments to the rest of the world, it is evident how far they are as a country. The main sports in Zimbabwe and the Southern African region are football and rugby. For this reason, even sports betting in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa mainly attracts football and rugby punters. The Zimbabwean National Football team, The Warriors, has been performing fairly well at the continental level.
One notable achievement is when they qualified for the 2019 AFCON in Egypt and were in the same group as Uganda, Egypt, and DR Congo. As they were in Egypt, they must have marveled at the gap in class between them and the Egyptians. They must have also witnessed the level of investments South Africa put in developing their infrastructure when they hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup. At the moment, it might take decades for Zimbabwe to reach such levels.
The country lags behind on several fronts. For example, the online casino industry is still unregulated. Since sports and betting complement each other, they still have a lot to do. A betting company like Betway is operating in several African countries and has partnered with local sports teams to help transform the game. Having such operators in the country’s sports industry could help transform it faster.
There Is a Massive Gap in Class
The difference in sports management in different countries is unspeakable. Developed countries seem to appreciate the value of sports and their benefits to the country’s economy. The amount of investment a county puts in sports infrastructure is a sign of how much it expects in return.
Apart from that, the management and maintenance of these facilities are also very critical. During the COSAFA tournament in South Africa, Warrior’s coach Chidzambwa was told that his team would train at a local school. He had reservations about that and sent a team of professionals to inspect the facility. He was shocked when the report indicated that the school had top-class training facilities.
The Zimbabweans also had a chance to see the Al Ahly Sports Complex in Egypt, where the Champions League match against FC Platinum was held. Platinum got the opportunity to train in the facility, and they had a memorable experience. FC Platinum chairman Evans Mthombeni was shocked at how much they were behind in terms of developing sports facilities.
Zimbabwe Sports Facilities Are In a Dreadful Condition
If a country invests well in sports facilities, that can help to transform sports and bring returns. The tragedy is that the people responsible for sports development in most African countries do not appreciate sports investment value. In 1995, Zimbabwe got the chance to upgrade its sports facilities when they hosted the All African Games.
The government made massive investments to build new sports facilities and upgrade existing ones. However, after the tournament, they never bothered about these facilities, and their current state is despicable.
Please make no mistake; the Zimbabwean sports personalities are doing their best to perform. Some of their teams are favorites among punters on Betway for their performances. But, support from the government in terms of improving infrastructure could go a long way in taking the sports in the country to the next level. Until then, Zimbabwe cannot think about making their sports industry commercial.