Twenty-six coach educators went through a two-hour football festival, indulging 200 children in various tactical and technical aspects of the game of football at Victoria High School in Masvingo to mark the end of a week-long FIFA grassroots coaching course and football festival on good Friday.
It could not have been more fitting to have the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Football Association’s technical development committee, Omega Sibanda, as the guest of honour at the closing ceremony.
In a powerful speech which evinced Sibanda’s unrivalled passion for developmental football, he urged coach educators and provincial chairpersons to work in unison to lay the foundation of Zimbabwe’s football future.
Sibanda, who is also the Vice President of ZIFA, said he was worried at the rate at which the professional league has been recycling players of late, and the poor scoring rate of the local premiership’s forwards.
“I won’t mention names but the rate at which the league is recycling players is worrying, ZIFA is watching, wondering whether there is any future for our football.
“What is even more worrisome is the ability of our offensive players.
“Stop obsessing with the finished product, go out there and catch them young, so that we can produce players of the calibre of Peter Ndlovu,” Sibanda added.
As the architect of the composition of the attendants of the grassroots course, Sibanda “deliberately” invited provincial chairpersons so that they would get an appreciation of the work they have to implement in their constituencies, working with coach educators.
Ulric Mathiot, the Seychellois FIFA instructor, a grassroots football connoisseur who superintended the course, underscored the importance of implementing what course participants learnt, insisting that Zimbabwe has the talent and the potential to do well.
“It is easy to start something but the challenge always comes on keeping it going.
“The compass for you to go forward without losing focus is the kids…during the week we saw only a small percentage of children and there is talent.
“Now go out there and reach as many children as possible,” Mathiot urged coach educators.
Veteran grassroots football exponent, Ali ‘Baba’ Dube, and former Shabanie Mine player, Patrick Mandizha, were among the participants.
Notable football dignitaries also present at the closing ceremony were Piraishe Mabhena, ZIFA executive committee member responsible for competitions and Samukeliso Silengane, vice chair lady of the Zimbabwe Women Super League.
Members of the technical development committee, Wisdom Simba ,Benedict Moyo and Tumediso Ndlovu, also graced the occasion, and so did Bhekimpilo Nyoni, the owner of BN Academy. ZIFA Provincial Chairmen including Nobioth Magwizi (Masvingo) who were part of the participants in the week long course also graced the ceremony.