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Zimbabwe Open University Shines at ZUSSA Games After Nearly 3-Year Hiatus due to Covid-19

After nearly three years of hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Zimbabwe Universities Staff Sports Association (ZUSSA) Games finally resumed at Chinhoyi University on the 16th to 17th of February 2024. The tournament, which saw the participation of State Universities including the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), showcased the athletic talents of staff members across various disciplines such as Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer, Pool, Darts, Chess and Netball. This edition of the games marked a significant milestone as they resumed nearly three years after the Covid-19 pandemic, with the last edition taking place in 2019 at the same venue.

ZOU Netball and Soccer teams pose for group photo above and below respectively at the ZUSSA Games at Chinhoyi University of Technology

Despite the challenging circumstances, the tournament which was intended for the country’s fifteen State Universities saw the participation of only seven universities, including Great Zimbabwe University, Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Harare Institute of Technology, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Africa University, and the University of Zimbabwe. Among them, the Zimbabwe Open University fielded competitive teams comprised of staff members who excelled their respective various disciplines.

Despite the smaller turnout compared to previous editions, the ZOU teams put up a commendable performance, with the women’s and men’s darts teams making it to the finals, although they narrowly missed out on clinching the titles. While they faced tough competition and ultimately fell short, their impressive performance speaks volumes about the university’s commitment to excellence in both academics and sports.

The ZUSSA Games are particularly significant for ZOU as they come at a crucial time when the university is gearing up to host the prestigious Southern African Universities Staff Sports Association (SAUSSA) Games later this year. The exposure gained from participating in the ZUSSA Games will undoubtedly aid in the University’s Sports Coordination Committee to fine-tune their skills and strategies as they make preparations for hosting the prestigious SAUSSA Games, which will bring together university staff members from across the SADC region.

ZOU men’s soccer team captain Simbarashe Muchairi

Speaking on behalf of the ZOU men’s soccer team Captain, Simbarashe Muchairi, expressed his delight at the opportunity to participate in the ZUSSA Games. He noted that the games provided valuable preparation for both the upcoming Chancellors Games and the 23rd edition of the SAUSSA Games, which will be hosted by ZOU.

The experience was beneficial in gearing up for the challenges ahead, we also have to acknowledge the importance of such competitions in fostering teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship among the university staff members”, he said.

As the countdown begins for the SAUSSA Games to be hosted by ZOU, the university remains focused on honing the skills of its teams and ensuring a successful event. The ZUSSA Games served as a reminder of the resilience and competitive spirit of the university staff, paving the way for a promising future in the realm of inter-university sports competitions. The exposure gained by both the University’s Sports Management and the teams at ZUSSA will undoubtedly contribute to the success of the upcoming regional event as this was crucial stepping stone for ZOU in its preparations to host the SAUSSA Games.

ZOU netball team in action