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By Shingirai Vambe

Harare-Was set alight Friday evening at the Harare International Conference Centre, when the man behind state-of-the-art Zim Cyber City real estate, Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, sponsored and launched Zim Afro Cricket T10

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), in association with T ten Global Sports,  unveiled the country’s eagerly awaited franchise-based T10 tournament that is aiming to feature cricket stars from across the world.

The Zim Afro T10 launch was announced at a media conference addressed by Mr Mulk alongside ZC Managing Director Givemore Makoni and Zim Cyber-City Chief Executive Officer Tendayi Hlupo-Mamvura in Harare on Friday afternoon.

Mulk told the media and delegates that he was inspired by the 2016 FIFA world cup football match between Real Madrid Vs Kashima Antler that kept him glued to the television and decided to create something different, cricket, that can be played in 90 minutes.

“It was not easy both to plan and resource mobilize for this type of sport to be a success, with an investment worth of US$10 million,” Mulk said.

Harare, Bulawayo, Namibia, Cape town to mention just a few are the countries and cities which already have the franchise while Cape town franchise has already been taken.

This is the latest T10 tournament to be established by T Ten Global Sports, the same company behind the Abu Dhabi T10 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Lanka 10 in Sri Lanka.

“As our association with cricket continues to grow, we are delighted to bring to Zimbabwe an exciting format that will not only advance the reach, attractiveness and growth of the sport, but will also present a massive opportunity for private investment into the franchises,” Mr Mulk said.

The sport has been earmarked for tourism, business and investment opportunities where people around the world are expected to travel and experience the magnificent hospitality, beauty and nature of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Cricket Chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani said he was confident the league will provide great entertainment for the fans, top-level competition for the players and vast exposure for the investors.

“We are confident the Zim Afro T10 league will excite a global fan base, create massive mileage for its commercial partners and, more importantly, propel our cricket forward and lay a positive roadmap for how the game is perceived for future generations.” Mukuhlani said.

The launch of the Afro cricket T10 was graced Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa and Permanent Secretary, Nick Mangwana, Barbara Rwodzi, Deputy Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation, Tino Machakaire, Minister of Défense, Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri and Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Kazembe Kazembe who was representing the President, CDE Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Evening dinner and launch of the ZIM Afro T10 at HICC-picture by shingirai Vambe

“I would like to express my gratitude to Shaji ul Mulk and Mulk International for the their unwavering commitment and investment in Zimbabwe, and for bringing this exceptional opportunity to our country. This landmark project will not only boost our economy but also promote Zimbabwe’s sport tourism and hospitality industry and promote our nation globally,” said President Mnangagwa.

Mutsvangwa told the Post on Sunday newspaper that the launch and establishment of such a global entertainment was a milestone achievement for the second republic in fight against drug abuse for our young girls and boys and the President’s mantra of making the country an upper middle income economy by 2030.

The main sponsor of the event ZIM CYBER CITY, CEO Tendayi Hlupo-Mamvura said it was a great privilege for ZIM CYBER CITY to partner with Zimbabwe Cricket to bring the Zim Afro T-T10 League to Zimbabwe as she unveiled via video a walk through design of Zim Cyber City.

She stated that this would be the most prestigious 500 000 sqm of real estate in Zimbabwe, designed for the elite. She said Zim Cyber City not only aligns itself with United Nations SDG 3 which aims to ensure healthy lives by supporting Cricket as a sport but also supports Cricket as an activity that brings tourism.

“We wish to thank Zimbabwe Cricket for accepting our proposal to invest in this game-changer and we are looking forward to an incredible journey together, Zim Cyber City looks forward to a long rewarding journey with Zim Afro T-T10,” said Hlupo-Mamvura

The UAE-based investor behind the state-of-the-art Zim Cyber-City real estate project that is being on the outskirts of Harare, told this publication he was excited to be bringing the magic of T10 cricket to Zimbabwe and would like to bring Dubai to Zimbabwe.

The participating franchises, player auction dates, fixtures and other details will be announced in due course.