15 June 2019

Zimbabwe: It's for the Warriors, Says U.S.$10 000 Jersey Buyer

Photo: The Herald
Businessman and sports fanatic Tino Machakaire (right) watches as President Mnangagwa signs his autograph on a Zimbabwe national football team replica jersey which the former snapped up for a whopping US$10 000 at an auction held during Wednesday night’s fundraising dinner for the Warriors at a Harare hotel

PARTING with US$10 000 for a Warriors jersey is certainly no ordinary stuff, no matter how affluent one is. It takes a great deal of patriotism. Perhaps something more than just that. That desire to see the people you call your own overcome odds in the ultimate football showcase on the continent, especially with those odds staked against them.

It takes that passion, that drive.

That heart to bring smiles, not just to members of your clan, but to every Zimbabwean.

Including those who haven't laid their hands even on a fraction of that amount all their lives, but who definitely want to see their country's flag being lifted high. It takes down-to-earth characters who do not even seek attention.

Those characters who will not run to the close-by journalist to have their profile published. That's Tino Machakaire for you. The Member of Parliament for Wedza South Constituency and director of Tinmac Holdings.

A media shy politician, philanthropist and a devout supporter of not just football but sport in general. Of course, by his own admission, with a bias towards boxing. With the Warriors having registered their concerns with the Government for total support in their Africa Cup of Nations cause which kicks-off in Egypt next Friday, President Mnangagwa appointed a fundraising committee, one of the noblest ideas to ever happen in Zimbabwean sport. The composition of the committee is inspiring.

And their fundraising initiatives culminated in the dinner that took place at a Harare hotel on Wednesday where President Mnangagwa was the guest of honour. He delivered a message of hope for football and the Warriors, who are already in Cairo.

Besides the tables which were on sale, the dinner witnessed a pledges galore. With the biannual fiesta now expanded to 24 teams from 16, this is going to be the biggest for the Warriors who are making their fourth appearance at the contest. Not only in terms of those numbers, but for the first time, they will concentrate their energy in the field of play rather than on sit-ins, thanks to the Government's initiative.

Several companies pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars and one of them will cough R15 000 for every goal scored by the Warriors in the tournament. And of course, an auction for Warriors jerseys and footballs was conducted with each item sold bearing the signature of President Mnangagwa.

Machakaire grabbed the jersey for the staggering figure of US$10 000 for the love of his nation.

He feels obliged to contribute to the success of the national team who open their campaign with a bumper fixture against the hosts Egypt next Friday night.

"It's for the Warriors. We should feel proud to be Zimbabwean. The President has supported the team and we should also play our part to support his vision," said Machakaire.

He is no showy character. Whether he will be in Egypt remains his own secret.

"Sport plays a huge role in uniting a nation. We should all play our roles and make sure that sport thrives in this country."

Just last month, Machakaire donated $100 000 to boxer Charles Manyuchi after his comeback victory over acclaimed Argentine pugilist Pablo Ezequiel Acosta at the Harare International Conference Centre.

His company, Tinmac, had poured in over $200 000 towards the staging of the bout which had 11 fights in the under-card, including three other title duels. His contribution towards sport won't be a once-off deed.

"I am determined to continue supporting sport in every way possible. I love boxing. I will back the sport until it develops in this country.

"I am also very much supportive of soccer, I wish the Warriors all the best (at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt)".

Machakaire, better referred to as Tinmac in his constituency, is also one unsung grassroots sport development hero. He has seen to it that all schools, primary and secondary alike in Wedza South have the necessary training and playing kits in this ball-games' term.

He has always poured money into several tournaments including for the out of school players to motivate and develop rural talent.

His area of origin, Goneso, is adjacent to Zviyambe where former ZIFA president Wellington "Shumba" Nyatanga hails from.

Ex-Dynamos captain Tafadzwa Maingire and former Gunners midfielder Norest Chidhoma are both from Machakaire's village.

"Maybe that in part explains my love for sport. I wish to see more players being developed and ultimately represent the country," Machakaire said.

A senior teacher at St Thomas Aquinas (Chisasike) Secondary School in Machakaire's constituency, Tinashe Muradza, said he wasn't very much surprised when he heard that he (Machakaire) had purchased a Warriors jersey for that earthquake amount of US$10 000.

"He loves his people. Even here in his constituency he does virtually everything for everyone.

"His love for sport is beyond doubt as he can actually drive all the way just to watch a match between even two of the schools clashing in this area. He has the heart, the desire and zeal to see his people doing well," said Muradza.

Friends of the Warriors chairman Edward Chimedza hailed Machakaire for the incredible gesture.

"These are the kind of people who can drive sport in the country. What he did is inspiring. We wish to see more and more people doing the same for the development of sport in the country," said Chimedza.

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