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ZCF president signs off in style


OUTGOING Zimbabwe Chess Federation president (ZCF), Mucha Mukanganwi, signed off on a high note proffering a free etiquette session to the players during his address at last weekend’s CBZ National Chess Championships held in Harare.

Mukanganwi, also an outgoing polo champion with his Meikles team, will not contest at the next ZCF elective annual general meeting that is hinging upon the current audit.

He went down memory lane through his eventful tenure that saw him lure a couple of corporate sponsors together with his board of directors before delving into life tutorials.

“It was not an easy journey for us to get to this tournament. "We had Covid-19 that set us back and then last year we had the World Cup qualifier instead of the nationals. We really must thank CBZ because they gave that event gravity, and we were able to give some prizes and some dignity to that competition. Again, they came back this year,” said Mukanganwi.

“Within the conversations, the format of this tournament; I think it’s not an overstatement to say there was war with regard to what the format was going to be. In the groups, in the players' commissions, in the board at one stage 24 players (were proposed); how’s it going to be played, stuff like that. I’m just delighted that we made it, but this was complicated by the fact that we haven’t had a competition for long. So, the fact that we have made it; we have had a great competition is what counts the most.”

The supremo commended the players' passion, which they exhibited whenever faced with difficult circumstances.

“When you come to chess and someone comes out of the room defeated, give them 15 minutes to make them ready, but it just shows the passion and commitment that you guys put into it and I honour that. So, well done to everybody, everybody is a winner, and you are the cream of Zimbabwe chess,” he said.

“As many of you are aware, this is my last tournament as ZCF president. We are going to see a change of guard. It’s been an honour for me to have been part of ZCF. I have learnt so much, I have grown so much as a human being. I have met incredibly interesting people all over the country and we have interacted playing chess. I have really admired your passion and commitment. It’s not easy to get to this level of chess, it’s very hard. "It’s not just about the game, it’s also about how you manage yourself, your emotions, how you manage that and if you are not able to manage yourself, you simply do not play, and people don’t understand what you guys do. You guys get a lot of abuse along the way. In other countries people do chess full time and it’s still hard but for you folks it’s extra challenging, but you perform, and we are still one of the top teams in Africa despite all the challenges that we have.”

Mukanganwi encouraged the players to take an active role in the forthcoming chess elections and beyond.

“Take an interest in the elections that are coming because the ZCF board is here to serve the chess players and in particular our national players. So, to me it’s unfadable that we have an election and you guys don’t pitch up. If we have and you get onto a bus from Bulawayo, you come to Harare and you vote,” he added.

“There’s just no excuse for any other way to do it because then you become a victim and you spend three, four years mourning and honestly if you didn’t come to vote I have no sympathy for you. This is not to say that I’m saying get involved in politics, but I’m saying get involved. "If you like the politics of chess by the way, get involved.”

On life lessons, the president pleaded with the players to lead humble, honest lives of sacrifice punctuated by volunteerism amongst disadvantaged communities.

“I have said this to players time and time again and I’m not addressing you guys again as president, next time I come I will be coming as a spectator, as a friend musaite maboora ngoma. When you leave the country, when you mix with the community remember who you are. I have been in business for a very long time. I have done deals at a very high level. I’m the youngest person to run a listed company in Zimbabwe,”  Mukanganwi added.

“I was 31-years-old when I became  group CEO and because I take myself seriously, I take what I do seriously, I take my brand seriously. If you do not take yourself seriously as a human being others will not take you seriously and if you guys do not take yourself seriously; you dress scruffily, you go to schools like a clown, I do not want to say there are people like that, but you understand the example that I’m giving.

“What will start to happen is that the people around you will stop taking you seriously, they will hear that this is one of our top chess players in Zimbabwe, they will stop taking chess seriously. CBZ stops taking us seriously. I have begged and begged that you guys volunteer. This is my last time to be able to say this, volunteer. Go to children’s homes, go to other schools in the neighbourhood, teach them how to play chess. If you guys do that, we can rally behind you, we can ask CBZ to start profiling a player for the work they are doing in the community. I know that chess is played by individuals, but you can only grow, and you can only get sponsorship for what you do for yourself and for what you do for others. Manage your brand, go and give back to the community.”

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