The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe, has underscored the role played by sport in enhancing national and Pan-African unity.
â€˜Sport or interactions of this nature are very important in furthering unity,â€ said President Mugabe.
Cde Mugabe was speaking at a friendly Unity Cup match played by the female national teams of Zimbabwe, theÂ Mighty Warriors and South Africaâ€™s Banyana Banyana at Rufaro Stadium in Harare on Wednesday afternoon.
The visit by Banyana Banyana is at the invitation of their Zimbabwean counterparts and in solidarity with their northern neighbour as Zimbabwe celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Unity Accord between Cde Mugabe and the late Vice President, Dr Joshua Nkomo.
Cde Mugabe hailed the visit by the South African team as a symbol of solidarity and unity, not only between the two countries, but also the continent as whole saying interacting through sport has great potential to unite the continent.
â€œThat is what we treasure most on this day. Itâ€™s our Unity Day and they have come to enhance it. When we brought the two parties together it was the unity of the two parties, but now we are talking of national unity. Sport is one area where we in Africa have moved forward alongside political unity and we hope we can move much further,â€ added President Mugabe.
During this yearâ€™s commemoration of Unity Day, Cde Mugabe was conferred with the patronage of the Mighty Warriors.
The conferment of the Mighty Warriors patronage is another feather in the cap for Cde Mugabe who is also patron of Zimbabwe Cricket.
The development is a demonstration of Cde Mugabeâ€™s commitment to the uplifting of the girl child and to the enhancement of sport in the country and the African continent.
The development is also in keeping with President Mugabesâ€™ commitment to the empowerment of the girl child as evidenced by the several laws that have been enacted since independence to empower women and the girl child.
Â Cde Mugabe said it is the duty of every leader to support sports in the country and give morale to participants.
â€œIt is the duty of any head of state or leader of government to sponsor and facilitate sport and social interaction. If you are a sponsor or you are made patron like what has happened to me today, you must be able to sponsor the sport, that boosts the moral of those who participate,â€ President Mugabe said.
The South African female team Banyana Banyana also has President Zuma as the patron.
Vice President, Cde John Nkomo, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, Cde Oppah Muchinguri, Dr Olivia Muchena and Cde Flora Bhuka as well as several government officials watched the encounter between the Mighty Warriors and Banyana Banyana.
The coming together of the two teams from neighbouring countries is a strong message of togetherness and brotherliness between the two states.
South Africa stood by Zimbabwe when western nations attempted to impose UN sanction on the country for embarking on the land reform programme.
The Zimbabwe Mighty Warriors lost to South Africa’s Banyana Banyana by 3-0.