The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has donated a consignment of baseball equipment to the Zimbabwe Baseball Association in a move expected to benefit the revival of the sport.
The donation include 60 gloves, 13 bats, uniforms, catcher’s masks, 68 gloves, helmets and balls, came as a result of the long standing relationships between the Zimbabwean and the Japanese governments.
This has seen a number of Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) being attached to the country with baseball being a beneficiary through the attachment of coach Naoki Taniyama who facilitated the donation according to Takashi Shirata, the JOCV programme country coordinator.
“We have been sending Japanese volunteers since 1989. It’s a long history including baseball coaches. We have a long history and i hope there are a lot of beneficiaries from the programme,” he said.
Sports and Recreation Commission Bulawayo provincial coordinator, Sam Dzvimbu indicated that the donation will go a long way in aiding the success of the government’s sport policy that seeks to ensure grassroots are reached with Zimbabwe Baseball Association president, Morris Banda saying it will help develop the game.
“We hope this will reach all our youngsters in our communities. Not only in Bulawayo but we are hoping across the whole country and possibly Zimbabwe becomes one of the giants in terms of baseball playing,” said Dzvimbu while Banda said; “It means a lot cause we don’t manufacture this equipment here so we depend on donations. We are very grateful for this donation”.
Baseball once reached dizzy heights in the continent but took a slump as the economy suffered.
With such partnerships, it is hoped the sport will be able to find its footing towards its targeted status.