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A few days ago, the image of a beauty salon installed in one of the ticket offices of the National Stadium of Zimpeto, a sports infrastructure the bid for whose construction was won by a Chinese company and evaluated at US$57 million, caused stupefaction and indignation on social networks. For me, nothing to get worked up about.
Because in articles published in O País’ between 2011 and 2014, Lázaro Mabunda and I and showed with facts and figures how the infrastructures built for the 2011 Maputo African Games would become white elephants for lack of clear ideas about their management, maintenance and capacity to generate revenue.
This series of articles, entitled ‘The Other Side of the African Games’, in fact earned me the Saíde Omar award for best sports reporting in 2014. And some ‘revenue’, of course.
The transformation of one of the ENZ box offices into a beauty salon is, in fact, a demonstration that we are light years away from innovative and creative management of infrastructure. Sports managers are bereft of ideas about monetisation.
It was, and is clear, that this was one of the measures taken by ENZ managers to generate revenue for the maintenance of the Zimpeto sports complex. Pure fantasy, as lacking in soul as it is in creativity.
As indeed happened in the past, when one of the areas was leased out for a bar that was affected by the fall of the wall of the Olympic pool in 2016. On the trail of this lack of ideas stands out in high relief the visit of the President of the Republic to the complex in February 2017, where he learned that the person who had rented the space had disappeared with the keys!
There is not, and I do not know if there ever was, a clear idea of how to monetise the Olympic pool. Managed directly by the Sports Promotion Fund after the 2011 Maputo African Games and with little sporting activity until 2013, the space then passed over to the management of the Mozambican Swimming Federation with the aim of becoming, in partnership with South Africa and Brazil, a centre of swimming excellence. But what the Mozambican Swimming Federation had promised never came to pass.
On the contrary! Instead, it became a nursery for frogs that found their habitat in the murky waters after rain in 2014 caused the waters of the Olympic pool to flood the machinery and cleaning rooms. The damage was huge. We were not prepared for a scenario of above-average rainfall.
A fact: the system installed in the Zimpeto sports complex, with its advanced technology, is unable to cope with the constant energy supply oscillations and power cuts.
The Zimpeto National Stadium was shut down after about a year to replace the grass planted when it was built in 2010. It had already degraded after hosting Moçambola and national team games, but worsened considerably during the celebration of the Mozambique Armed Forces jubilee. The work cost the state five million meticais, but the projected turfing of the training and heats fields, which could have reduced wear on the main field, did not materialise.
The sound and electrical systems began to degrade, and the leasing of spaces in the ENZ for weddings, baptisms and other events proves disastrous in terms of revenues to maintain the infrastructure.
There was only one thing left to try: to install a hairdresser! For sports lovers, all they have left is to cry “Mamawê!” [Oh my mother!] Or even contemplate a manicure and a good hair cut with proper ‘juba’ [mane]!
Enterprises of the land live off the people of the land!
By Aristides CaveleSource: O País
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