National squad players Tafara Mpofu, Tafadzwa Nyamukondiwa, Graeme Lewis and Bradley Kulaisi were primed to shine proud at the recently held 25th Africa Region 5 Golf Championships in Namibia, but they fell to a lowly 5th position — Zimbabwe’s worst performance in 20 years at international level.
Zimbabwe hosted the tournament and came second in 2018, an event that attracted seven countries. But their recent show in Namibia has opened a can of worms as to the standard and level of development of the sport in the country.
Formerly the Zone VI Championships, the bi-annual tournament was played over three rounds of golf, with the first 18-hole round being a stroke play to determine the country’s ranking. On the first day, Zimbabwe managed a gross score of 234 followed by a score of 229 on the second day. On the final day of the tourney, Zimbabwe amassed a gross score of 226 to give a team total of 689.
Zimbabwe then played Swaziland in the final round date for the 5th place. The best placed Zimbabwean was Tafara Mpofu who finished 6th overall.
Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) golf development officer Boniface Chigorimbo said they were concerned with the results and the association was going to look at them critically.
“Unfortunately, it’s the worst performance by Zimbabwe in the past 20 years and we will be looking at the reason on what could have gone wrong,” he said.
Zimbabwe was banking on the reigning winner of the 2019 ZGA tournament, Mpofu and Nyamukondiwa’s recent form at three international tournaments in the United States last year, which made him a prime target for reputable American collegiate golf coaches, will be participating for the second consecutive year at the Region 5 tourney and had enjoyed rapid rise in the rankings.
Debutant, Lewis was one of the most exciting prospects ahead of the event.
Ahead of the tournament Chigorimbo maintained that the players earned their spots with consistently strong performances and excellent results over the past 12 months and we are confident in their ability to compete at the highest level.
However, some golf fanatics feel the selection process need to be reviewed, considering that acquiring points through attendance of tournaments may not be the correct selection procedure.
Local golf followers expressed disappointment at the results.
“Zimbabwe performance is not pleasing though. Yesteryear’s Zimbabwe would be competing for the first position. There is need for an interrogation on our junior development policies and programmes. Maybe engage good coaches/managers/mentors for the youngsters,” said a local golfer.
Another golfer added: “The mentality of the current crop of amateurs is not the same as before. Try and engage them and all they complain about is sponsorship. Gone are the days.”
Others blamed it on the wasted money that was not invested in golf development for years, and Zimbabwe Golf is now paying the price.
The team has been in camp for three weeks at Chapman Golf Club, and expected good results.
This publication is reliably informed that the team didn’t travel with a coach.
Once again, the South African’s leading amateurs Wilco Nienaber, Luca Filippi, Jayden Schaper and Therion Nel completed a successful title defense in the 25th Africa Region 5 Golf Tournament.
Namibia and Zambia won both singles games to beat Mauritius 2 & 1 for third overall. Zimbabwe Golf Association president Mr Mufaro Chivonivoni was unavailable for comment.
1 South Africa