Row over Mhofu

Controversy  has rocked the Sport and Recreation Commission’s Annual National Sports Awards with the discord, this time, centred on the nominees for the Coach of the Year accolade.The ANSA awards ceremony, originally scheduled for December last year, were postponed to March1.

Sunday Chidzambwa, coach of Zimbabwe during the Cosafa Castle Cup match between Mozambique and Zimbabwe at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg on 26 June 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

But the process to reward the best sportspersons for 2018 got off to a false start yesterday with the ANSA judges panel sharply contradicting themselves on the manner in which they came up with the finalists for the Coach of the Year.

That controversy is centred around the inclusion of Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa on three finalists who also include rugby Sevens coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba and the women’s netball mentor Lloyd Makunde.

Chidzambwa’s Warriors who extended their record to an unprecedented sixth COSAFA Cup title following their triumph over Zambia in the final in Polokwane were deemed not good enough to make the cut for the Team of the Year.

The finalists for the Team of the Year are the Sevens side, rowing squad and the netball team.

It emerged that Chidzambwa had also initially not been considered for the Coach of the Year, with his name gatecrashing onto the list only because the rowing coach Rachel Davis was ruled ineligible as she is a South African

ANSA judges panel vice-chairman, Witness Mugulula, contradicted himself in trying to explain Chidzambwa’s nomination saying the rowing coach was not eligible since she was not a Zimbabwean citizen.

But he had earlier explained that a technical official in charge of a national team can be nominated for an award regardless of citizenship.

Davis won the ward at the ANSA 2016 edition.

“Normally and naturally the rowing coach should have been there but in this case she is a South African, and not Zimbabwean. So the fourth best coach was Sunday Chidzambwa. That is how he was nominated,” said Mugulula.

Mugulula also revealed that they had only included Chidzambwa because their criteria demand that there be three finalists for each category, with the veteran Warriors gaffer literally being picked to “make up the numbers’’.

“The judges’ panel adjudicates on nominations submitted by national associations. Some of the athletes miss out because their associations have not nominated their names but there is an alternative tracking process that can be used by SRC to trace excelling athletes.

“That which has not been submitted cannot be adjudicated but there is a process that is carried out by SRC which is called tracking process. SRC have also the mandate to track athletes who they feel that may have performed better during the year but have not been nominated by the national association.

“Another critical area that I want you to understand is the eligibility process that we consider one to be awarded in the process.

“1. Annual National Sports Awards nominees are drawn from registered and recognised sports associations.

2.The nominee must be a Zimbabwean citizen who shall be a member or a participant within a registered national sports association. You cannot just pick someone from the street and say he is our member when that person is not registered with the association.

3.The nominee must have excelled in national, regional, continental and world sport competitions including Olympics and or Paralympics Games as defined in Article 2.

4.The nominee must be duly nominated in line with Article 1.6 by the respective national sports association.

5.The nominee must have exhibited exceptional and outstandingly good sportsmanship and is a good ambassador of the country.’’

The Cheetahs , the Team of the Year and their coach Nyamutsamba are back among the finalists after winning the Africa Cup in Tunisia.

They won the accolade last year on the back of their qualification for the World Cup.


Junior Sportswoman of the Year — TBA

Junior Sportsman of the Year — Ryan Gwidzima (Squash), Kenneth George Raynor (Rowing).

Junior Sportswoman of the Year with a disability — Moment Bhebhe (Athletics VI-T13), Libertra Shoko (Athletics VI), Grace Nyamadzawo (Athletics VI-T12).

Junior Sportsman of the Year with a disability — Tafadzwa Munyoro (Athletics VI-T13), Ethan Mupfumira (Golf — Special Olympics), Sellassi Chiwisa (Golf — Special Olympics).

Sportswoman of the Year — Grace Chirumhanzu (Karate), Memoryu Chiwandire (Karate), Paidaishe Zengeni (Chess).

Sportsman of the Year — Wilfred Mashaya (Karate), Samson Muripo (Karate), Ben Follet-Smith (Golf).

Sportswoman of the Year with a disability — Moleen Majoni (Wheelchair racing), Margaret Bangajena (Wheelchair racing), Lisa Burbidge (Golf — Special Olympics).

Sportsman of the Year with a disability — Elford Moyo (Wheelchair racing), Munyaradzi Musariri (Golf — Special Olympics), Isaac Gutu (Golf — Special Olympics).

Team of the Year — Seven Rugby, Netball senior team, Rowing.

Coach of the Year — Gilbert Nyamutsamba (Sevens Rugby), Sunday Chidzambwa (Football), Lloyd Makunde (Netball).

Technical Official of the Year — Annie Joyce Muchenu (Basketball), Langton Rusere (Cricket), Rick Fulton (Triathlon).


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