Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER Dynamos secretary-general Raymond Kazembe says he has been thrown into familiar territory after he bounced back into sport administration as the new Minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation.
Kazembe was named in the new Cabinet announced by the President on Thursday and he replaces Makhosini Hlongwane.
The Harare businessman, who had previously held positions as ZIFA Mashonaland Central treasurer and chairman of Glendale Spinners Football Club before joining the Dynamos ranks, said he was geared up to deliver in his new portfolio.
“For me, the first thing is to thank His Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) for showing confidence in me. Look, there are so many people out there and it calls for your utmost commitment if you are the one given the opportunity to work for your country.
“Secondly, which is the most important part is to work, work and work.
“I hope and trust that I will get maximum co-operation from all disciplines and the different people that I will be working with. The biggest task is to deliver,” said Kazembe.
The Mazowe West Member of Parliament, a lifelong DeMbare fan who also loves the way English Premiership giants Arsenal play their football, said he had an appreciation of the intensity of the task at hand especially with the myriad of problems bedevilling the sports and arts sectors for years.
“If you look at what the President has said and done in the few days that he has been in office, it has shown that he is a results-oriented man.
“So I am gearing myself to work. The good thing is I have been thrust into familiar territory.
“I have been in this field (sports administration) since the 1990s and I am also someone who has deep passion for arts. Yes, my academic background is technical, I studied electrical engineering and telecommunications, but I am also someone who has been hands-on especially in sport administration.
“So I take the challenge positively and I hope to make a difference in these sectors,” said Kazembe.
His arrival has been welcomed by the Sports and Recreation Commission and ZIFA who are some of the biggest stakeholders in the domestic sport industry.
Kazembe was instrumental in helping Dynamos get a corporate partner in BancABC during his time as one of the leading figures in the club’s administration structures.
The Harare businessman was credited with bringing a refreshing professional approach to Dynamos in which he also shied away from the boardroom politics that often threaten to tear the Glamour Boys apart.
He quit the club at the end of 2012 just after the Glamour Boys had defied odds to claim a second successive League and Cup double despite losing the experienced and influential pair of goalkeeper Washington Arubi and striker Takesure Chinyama in June that year.
Arubi joined Pretoria University while Chinyama, who was the leading scorer at the club, was lured by Soweto giants Orlando Pirates.
He said that the BancABC sponsorship helped the club’s management, board of directors, the team and their fans to work as a family and focus on winning silverware.
“They (BancABC) have been there for all to see as we have fought hard and won every major title that has been on offer in the last two years,” he said back then.
“They have helped us settle the other matters while they have been with the team. The sponsors have really helped us and we worked hard to be where we are right now.
“They made our work easy because we knew that we won’t be stranded when travelling in Africa and all that is because of their continued support.”
Kazembe had been tasked with spearheading the recruitment of new players and negotiating new deals with a host of the Glamour Boys players, whose contracts were running out, at the time he announced his decision to leave his post.
“Kazembe mentioned in his letter that he was facing enormous pressure of work hence the decision to take a break from football and concentrate on his family and business,” sources told The Herald back then.
Kazembe had distinguished himself among the new breed of administrators with his hard work and professionalism.
He also showed he was not only interested in football alone by sponsoring a schools rugby tournament that year which attracted foreign participants.
Three South African schools graced the Schools Rugby Challenge Festival at Bushman Rock in Marondera.
The invited schools — St. Andrews, South African College and Pretoria Boys — battled against some of the top rugby high schools in Zimbabwe.
Churchill, Lomagundi, Prince Edward, St. George’s and St. John’s College flew the Zimbabwe flag at the tourney.
Four primary schools — Lilfordia, Springvale, Ruzawi and St. John’s Prep — were also invited to take part as curtain-raisers at the event.
Mbare Academy, which offer opportunities to the underprivileged, were also roped in.
Article Source: The Herald