HARARE – You might have come across an image from Gweru, central Zimbabwe, in which the most outstanding player after a cricket game there is being presented with a dummy cheque of US$25 during a post-match ceremony!

You’ve ridiculed it enough, but come on, folks! This is only a local, off-season, winter, and privately sponsored US$2 000 friendly tournament in which the participants didn’t even expect a dime!

Well, this is in the words of John Makuwalo, invited guest and provincial chairman of the Midlands Cricket Association. He is seen in the widely circulated picture presenting the award to the man-of-the-match, player-coach George Mukoki, at Gweru Sports Club.

“It’s off-season, and just the older guys playing against the younger lads, to pass on some life and cricketing skills,” said Makuwalo on Tuesday.

“It’s just good fun. We got partners to pay man-of-the-match prizes. So Gundu Legal Practitioners gave us US$2 000, to cover the costs for every game of this tournament. It’s not like they gave us just $25, which you are seeing in this picture! We have to manage the funds which they so generously gave us. So, come on guys, what’s all the fuss about? This is a privately sponsored $2 000 tournament! Just look at that guy I’m giving the award to in this picture! He’s George Mukoki. He’s a coach, a much older guy. He was playing with youngsters, imparting skills. And he just happened to emerge as man-of-the-match.”

John Makuwalo (standing, blue shirt), is Midlands Cricket Association chairman. Here. he delivers a speech at an event with Zimbabwe Cricket boss Tavengwa Mukuhlani seated next to him (white golf t-shirt).

Makuwalo, himself a former club cricketer from Chitungwiza and now based in the Midlands, added that his province’s development thrust will not be deterred by the scorn.

“It is (the tournament) is attracting youngsters from Kadoma, Kwekwe, Gweru, and even Harare and Bulawayo,” he said.  “It’s actually about encouraging kids not to take drugs and not indulge in other dangerous activities. This is really a private campaign involving upright citizens who are resident and working in the Midlands region – in this case Gundu, Dube and Pamucheche Legal Practitioners. It’s not easy to part with any amount of money, they did. And it’s no small amount for a local tournament of this kind of vision, to teach children life skills. Guys participating were actually surprised that well, there is a bit of money involved. It’s not like anybody expected a windfall from this social responsibility initiative.”

A representative of the Gweru Winter League, Kundai Kureva, said because of that publicity, more partners will now join in, thus proving a blessing in disguise.

‘Gundu, Dube and Pamucheche Legal Practitioners is a proud sponsor of the Gweru Winter League. Their contribution is not a one-time USD $25 donation, but rather sponsorship for the man-of-the-match prize throughout the entire league season,” Kureva said.

“The Gweru Winter League consists of six teams that will play against each other for the next six weeks, and the donation made towards the league has been spread out and will be recognising the outstanding player in each match with a $25 prize. We are incredibly grateful for their ongoing support and commitment to promoting excellence in the league.

“The Gweru Winter League goes beyond just cricket. It provides a safe and positive environment for young people, helping to steer them away from drugs and other negative influences. As a committee, we are committed to this dual mission of fostering cricketing talent and youth development in Gweru.

“In light of the recent interesting media attention, we would like to take this time to call upon more sponsors to join Gundu, Dube and Pamucheche Practitioners in supporting the Gweru Winter League. With additional support, we can further develop this programme and create even greater opportunities for the young cricketers of Gweru.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here