Mixed bag for Zim sportsmen

Sports Desk
Norman Mapeza is at his rural home in Honde Valley, linking up with friends and relatives; the Chevrons are in South Africa for the inaugural four-day Test and there is no rest for new Sports Minister Kazembe Kazembe.

It looks like it’s going to be a bleak Christmas for domestic cricketers who haven’t been paid their December salaries.

Caps United players are also owed huge sums of money while in Zvishavane there is nothing to celebrate for Shabanie Mine players who are arguably the league’s poorest.While reigning Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere might still be enjoying the $5 000 he pocketed for bagging the top gong, the same cannot be said of Dynamos players who are still owed thousands of dollars by the financially crippled giant.

For Castle Lager Premier Soccer League championship-winning coach Mapeza, Christmas is a time to go back to the roots and link up with old friends.

The FC Platinum gaffer has taken a break from the club’s preparations for the 2018 CAF Champions League campaign to spend time with his kith and kin in Honde Valley.

“Ndiri paruzevha hangu, I am linking up with relatives and friends here in Hauna, Honde Valley.

“It has been a hectic season and retreating to my home area gives me the necessary breathing space,” Mapeza told The Sunday Mail.

As Mapeza chills in his home area, it’s strictly business for the Zimbabwe national cricket who will play South Africa in the new four-day Test, which will be a day-night match that starts on Boxing Day.

“Cricket on Boxing Day, that’s another first for us.

“Christmas will be very tame, it’s something we will make sure we do because it’s something as players we dream of doing,” said former Chevrons skipper Brendan “BT” Taylor.

The Under-19 cricket squad are in New Zealand this Christmas, preparing for the ICC Cricket Under-19 World Cup in January.

The boys might be thousands of miles away from their homes but Under-19 captain Liam Roche says the squad has become one big family down under.

“I think the most important thing is acknowledging that we should be here for each other and be a family.

“Celebrate Christmas as a family,” Roche said.

There is no respite for newly appointed Sports Minister Kazembe who will be working throughout the festive season.

“There is no holiday for me because there are a lot of issues to attend to both at party and Cabinet level.

“It’s all work throughout the Christmas holiday,” said Minister Kazembe.

Firebrand Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa takes a break from Jonathan Mashingaidze’s relentless onslaught with a drive to his rural home in Zvimba.

“I will drive to Zvimba with my kids,” said Big Phil.

“You see, my boys want to go and place flowers on their grandfathers’ graves.

“We haven’t done that for years and yet it’s very important, so yes, that’s my Christmas schedule,” said Chiyangwa.

Three weeks after assuming the reins at Zimbabwe Rugby Union, new president Aaron Jani retreats to his rural home in Chinhoyi to recharge the batteries ahead of the 2018 season.

“I will spend this Christmas with my family at my rural home in Chinhoyi.

“I also intend to use this as an opportunity to plan for 2018 since we have got a lot to do next year,” said Jani.

Reigning Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability and record nine-time winner of the award Margaret Bangajena says she will be out for braai with family and friends.

“We will spend it (Christmas) at home then go out for a braai with relatives and friends.

“I will also take it as an opportunity to celebrate the ANSA award which I won for the ninth time in a row this year. It will be celebration time,” said the wheelchair racing champion.

The reigning Sportsman and Sportsperson of the Year Samson Muripo is currently holed up in South Africa undergoing an intensive training program.

The 39-year-old returns to the mat in February when he takes part in the 4th So-Kyokushin International Karate Tournament scheduled to be held in Iran.

The world champion is expected to clock a lot mileage during 2018 as he also trips to South Africa, Namibia, the United Kingdom and Japan during the first four months of the year.

As for his Christmas plans, Muripo said: “I will probably be in Sandton.

“I really don’t like travelling during holidays; it’s a hectic time prone to disasters and stuff.

“I will most probably try keep myself busy with training,” he said.

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