When asked why he chose to keep her as Minister of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, the President emphasised that Coventry had done a commendable job in her previous role. Addressing a press conference at State House immediately after announcing his Cabinet yesterday, the President said:
When a Minister is appointed, they report to the appointer. It is me who gets satisfied whether a Minister is doing well or not. The fact that I’ve reappointed her means I’m satisfied.
During her first term as Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts, and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry, a former Olympic gold medalist and IOC member, faced criticism for various issues. One major concern was Zimbabwe’s ban from international football due to government interference in the affairs of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA). FIFA suspended Zimbabwe’s membership in 2022, and there have been calls for the reinstatement of the suspended Felton Kamambo-led board as demanded by FIFA.
Another issue was the bad state of Zimbabwe’s stadiums, resulting in a ban on hosting international matches. Several deficiencies were highlighted, including poor maintenance, poor playing surfaces, insufficient perimeter support structures, poor drainage systems, lack of proper ablution facilities and dressing rooms, absence of facilities for the physically challenged, absence of bucket seats, direction signs, standard doping rooms, medical facilities, press rooms, television camera points, and modern electronic turnstiles.
These shortcomings collectively contributed to Zimbabwe’s stadiums failing to meet the expected standards required for hosting international matches.
The lack of proper infrastructure and facilities negatively impacted the country’s ability to participate in and successfully host international sporting events, further highlighting the need for improvement in this area. Coventry was allegedly among the Ministers whose performances were below standard in the previous term.