The Sunday Mail
VISITING Finnish sport experts Ari Koivu and Tor Lindborg have lauded the work ethic of Zimbabweans, which they believe will anchor rapid development of the country’s sporting sector.
The experts were in Harare for the launch of a four-year €400 000 (about US$435 000) physical education (PE) programme in tertiary institutions. The programme is a partnership between the Finnish government and Zimbabwe, with support channelled through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. Sports Leaders Institute of Zimbabwe (SLIZ) and Liike Sports Development Agency of Finland would be managing the project, which will run from 2023 to 2026. Koivu and Lindborg have been training SLIZ officers and laying the groundwork for the programme’s implementation.
Speaking on the sidelines of a training workshop for project staffers, Koivu praised the enthusiasm shown by locals in the PE programme and the work ethic of Zimbabweans.
PE is considered a key component in athlete development.
“We hope that this project has a lot for PE in Zimbabwe and for the athletes.
“It is very important that we update the skills of the teachers and for persons with disabilities, and to look for good cooperation with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education,’’ Koivu said. He also praised SLIZ for being “a strong partner with good relations and knowledge of local governance systems”. Liike and SLIZ have been in partnership since 2018.
“Over the years, we have had courses and seminars with SLIZ on sports management, and I noticed that it was something many of the teachers were not so aware of, but they have become aware now and they are even using the different media to develop sports and PE in the colleges.” Koivu noted that most lessons in local colleges were, however, often more theoretical and less practical.
“We also observed that Zimbabwe needs good venues and equipment to make top athletes from the colleges. Coaching also needs infrastructure, good equipment and talented sportspersons,’’ he added. Colleges have been asked to outline their needs in terms of equipment, e-learning material and literature. Liike office manager Lindborg, who has extensively travelled across Africa since the 1980s on sports development projects and is currently based in Tanzania, said he was training (SLIZ) on project management, planning and reporting, as well as bookkeeping.
“There is a difference between Zimbabwe and Tanzania culturally, but I like the positive energy I have seen in SLIZ and in Zimbabweans in general.
“Our main objective is to get good citizens through the schools, citizens who can perform and develop the country through sport,’’ he said. He hopes Government would eventually take over such projects in order for them to remain sustainable.