President Emmerson Mnangagwa has officiated at the ground breaking ceremony to mark the commencement of construction work of St Noah Sports Centre at the Johanne Marange church headquarters in Marange.

The sports centre is expected to give fresh impetus in grooming the next generation of sports stars.

Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony, President Mnangagwa said the construction of the centre is a pioneer development in rural Zimbabwe and will help close the urban rural divide.

He said it is an important milestone that will assist in nurturing and identifying talent in the Mafararikwa area of Marange, adding that such a development should be taken to all the country’s provinces.

“All the people from the community must enjoy the facility, including the elderly who should come for sporting activities at this college,” said Cde Mnangagwa, before donating $50 000 for the construction of the centre, 200 laptops for the school and hundreds  of soccer balls.

He also donated 30 tonnes of rice and tonnes of maize which will benefit people constructing the centre.

Sakunda Holdings also chipped in with a $2000 donation, while several well wishers donated about 600 tonnes of cement towards the construction of the centre, one of the first of its kind in a rural set up.

The school authorities spelt out their vision to the dignitaries who graced the ceremony.

“Our wish is to have the thrust of government of ensuring that sport becomes accessible to all a reality. We want to have a world class facility that will set yardsticks in terms of how we should run sport in the country particularly when it comes to the grooming of youngsters. In the past, we have seen a situation where students from areas such as Marange have not been exposed to top notch sporting facilities. Talented pupils have not had the chance to shine which will soon be a thing of the past,” St Noah College Coordinator, Mr Nezbert Taguta said.

The ground breaking ceremony comes barely a few months after the launch of a low cost tennis court at St Noah College in Marange.

St Noah center will boast of a world class high performance sports academy which will see pupils from surrounding schools benefiting from the expertise at the facility.

The initiative has also received the buy-in of congregants from the Johanne Marange church, the Zanu PF Manicaland and a number of entrepreneurs, who have pledged to avail resources to guarantee the completion of the centre in the next two years.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa said the government is crafting a new diamond policy which will see the people of Marange benefitting from the Chiadzwa deposits.

Cde Mnangagwa said this while addressing thousands of party supporters in Marange after the ground breaking ceremony at St Noah College.

The President said with elections coming soon, it is time to demonstrate to the world that Zimbabweans are a peace loving people.