Mzembi insists in parliament that it’s possible for Zimbabwe to host World Cup in 2034


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Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi today told parliament that it was possible for Zimbabwe to host the 2034 soccer World Cup. All that was needed was vision. People should not be short-sighted as this was 20 years away and by then a lot would have changed including players for the national team.

Responding to questions in the National Assembly about his statement on Monday that Zimbabwe would bid for the FIFA World Cup in 2034 when it is once again Africa’s turn to host the world’s biggest soccer tournament, Mzembi said: “Vision and wisdom is measured by the ability of contemporary generations to plant trees today whose shade they are very sure they may not be able to enjoy in the future.

“What we are simply doing is casting a 20 year vision for Zimbabwe in the field of sport and tourism. If the Minister wishes to plant gum trees, my Ministry and the ZANU PF Government is willing to plant baobab trees that will live and outlive us, going forward into the future.”

Mzembi said it is possible to host World Cup 2034 in Zimbabwe on the back of regional infrastructure that is already in place.

“We can mobilise South Africa, Mozambique Botswana and Zambia, with Zimbabwe providing the lead bit to host this World Cup in our domain. Let me say to the hon. member that even the children who are going to play in 2034, 50% of the Zimbabwe National Team is not yet born and that is what is called vision.

“In addition to that Madam Speaker, we have all the ingredients for a successful hosting of this Cup on the back of all the work that we have sought to achieve through ZIM ASSET, infrastructural work and we think that by that time, we would have arrived sufficient enough to host a successful World Cup.”

Sceptics rubbished Mzembi’s statement on Monday calling him a dreamer and asking what type of dagga he had smoked to say that.

 

Q & A:

*MS. CHIMENE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. My question is on the World Cup, we were very happy when he talked about it. How prepared are we to host the games in 2034? What is your vision regarding this issue?-[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order in the House. Can we have order, so that we hear what the Minister is saying?

THE MINISTER OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (ENG. MZEMBI): I want to thank Hon. Chimene for this incisive question. I also want to just put into context why I would stand and also respond to it. Members of the old Inclusive Government, like Hon. Chamisa, would recall that my Ministry, Tourism and Hospitality Industry was given the mandate to run what we call a Conventions Bureau. Its business is to go out there to bid and lobby for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions together with technical ministries.

In this instance, we have legitimacy in actually pronouncing the vision on Zimbabwe for World Cup 2034. Many of you would recall that in 2011, when the President of FIFA visited the country, Sepp Blatter, we asked what our chances were with regards to putting a bid for 2034. He answered that the chances were as good as our dreams and vision as a country. More importantly, we are encouraged by the fact that in 2010, contrary to what turned out to be World Cup, 2010 just played in South Africa, the bid itself spoke to a regional bid where countries would have participated in hosting some of the games. Many of you would recall that we actually refurbished three stadia, the National Sports Stadium, Babourfields and Rufaro. We even put an artificial turf on Rufaro in anticipation of hosting the games.

Unfortunately, in the wisdom of the South African Government, they decided to use their own provinces to host the games and they built a stadium each in every province that would host the games and we were left out as the region.

The best that Zimbabwe managed to get that time was a trial or practice match between Zimbabwe and Brazil, which many of you would remember was a very successful project under the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Brazil proceeded to play another game with Tanzania, again as a practice match. Going forward, if we are united as a country around this vision of hosting World Cup 2034, it is possible that we can … – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. members, we want to hear what the Minister is saying. Even those who are behind at the backbenches need to hear what the Minister is saying but you are making a lot of noise.

MR. MARIDADI: On a point of order.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

MR. MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have a lot of respect for the Hon. Minister but Madam Speaker, for us to talk about World Cup 2034 in this House when people do not have food today; I think it is an indictment of this House. – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. members, let us have order in the House! The Minister is answering what he has been asked. So there is no point of order. Hon. Minister, can you please continue.

ENG. MZEMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, vision and wisdom is measured by the ability of contemporary generations to plant trees today whose shade they are very sure they may not be able to enjoy in the future. What we are simply doing is casting a 20 year vision for Zimbabwe in the field of sport and tourism. If the Minister wishes to plant gum trees, my Ministry and the ZANU PF Government is willing to plant baobab trees that will live and outlive us, going forward into the future.

Going back to the issue, let me say that it is possible Madam Speaker, to host World Cup 2034 in Zimbabwe on the back of regional infrastructure, that is already in place. We can mobilise South Africa, Mozambique Botswana and Zambia, with Zimbabwe providing the lead bit to host this World Cup in our domain. Let me say to the hon. member that even the children who are going to play in 2034, 50% of the Zimbabwe National Team is not yet born and that is what is called vision. In addition to that Madam Speaker, we have all the ingredients for a successful hosting of this Cup on the back of all the work that we have sought to achieve through ZIM ASSET, infrastructural work and we think that by that time, we would have arrived sufficient enough to host a successful World Cup.

Having said that, if there is any Member of Parliament in this House whose pessimism for this country is as low as has been cited by the hon. member, to the extent where we do not see substantive and substantial progress in this country in 20 years time, to the extent where we can hold a World Cup, then it is extremely unfortunate. I would hope that going forward into the future, we can rally national support towards this legacy project which can drive investment in the country. I want to thank the hon. member for this question.

MR. MATANGAIDZE: Thank you Madam Speaker. The vision for 2034 is brilliant and we should rally with it but I think what will be more prudent at this stage is probably to try and focus on the African Champions Cup so that at least we start by hosting that. We lay that as a ground level for us to go for 2034.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is the question hon. member?

MR. MATANGAIDZE: The question Madam Speaker, is what is the Government policy in trying to come up with an African Cup of Nations competition hosted in Zimbabwe?

ENG. MZEMBI: Madam Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Matangaidze. Hon Matangaidze, a journey of a mile begins with a small step. The small step to World Cup 2034 would be the Africa Cup of Nations and we can put it within our gun chart towards World Cup 2034 and everything will still be possible. We have already hosted COSAFA and we hosted it successfully. We hosted the Brazil – Zimbabwe match successfully and I think it is within our realm and capabilities to host World Cup 2034 going forward. I thank you.

(5 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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