Fifa’s social responsibility drive for Bulawayo

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IT is projected that the construction of the Football For Hope Centre (FFHC) in Bulawayo will be complete by October this year.

REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE

This is one of Fifa’s projects, a first in Zimbabwe. The international football governing body has earmarked 20 FFHCs to be built in Africa to promote public health, education and football in disadvantaged communities in Africa.

Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe (GRSZ), headed by former Highlanders player, coach and Bantu Rovers president Methembe “Mayor” Ndlovu, was chosen by Fifa to run the centre.

The Bulawayo City Council, envisioning the noble cause last year donated a 5,1-hectare piece of land between Gwabalanda and Magwegwe North for the establishment of the FFHC to GRSZ on a five-year lease at a monthly rental of a mere $20, subject to review.

After the official handover of the plans of the centre last month, construction at the site is now underway and it is expected that by October this year, the FFHC will be complete.

The centre is meant to champion Grassroot Soccer International’s vision to fight against the Aids pandemic and the spread of HIV. It is meant to benefit the youth in communities in Bulawayo.

“The contractors project a completion date of October 10 2013. The facility will house rooms for educational activities and community gatherings, public health services, office space and an artificial turf. It will also include several all-purpose rooms for private counselling and testing.

Bulawayo FFHC’s mission will be to provide a safe, productive space for the delivery and dissemination of soccer-based HIV prevention education and services, create and support programmes for healthy community development and enrichment.

The centre will further the Grassroot Soccer vision of a generation mobilised through soccer to fight the spread of HIV, and will enable local youth to access skills, services, and programmes that help them make informed decisions and build healthy and productive communities,” the Grassroot Soccer website reads.

Last year, the BCC director of Engineering Services, Simela Dube, recommended to the Town Lands and Planning Committee that the piece of land be leased to GRSZ and the council acceded.

“The land is designated as a sports field and it was therefore suggested that the applicant be afforded the opportunity to implement the project that would benefit the community,” council said last year.

GRSZ already has existing programmes in the fight against HIV, which the organisation implements in the City of Kings through football tournaments. The FFHC will be used to implement these programmes.

Some of the football coaches that work extensively with GRSZ are Chicken Inn head coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu, his assistant Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku, Gift Lunga (senior) and Bantu Rovers player-coach, former Highlanders and Warriors midfielder Johannes Ngodzo, Mighty Warriors and Inline Academy assistant coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda, among others.

Out-of-school youth and schoolchildren will benefit from the FFHC.

There are two FFHCs managed by Grassroot Soccer at present and both are in South Africa – the Khayelitsha FFHC with the Alexandra centre outside Johannesburg currently in the design and site-work phase.

Grassroot Soccer says the Bulawayo FFHC is a collaboration between “20 Centres for 2010” campaign partners, Fifa, Streetfootballworld and Architecture for Humanity.

In 2011, GRSZ, entered into a three-year $300 000 partnership with Barclays Bank aimed at using the power of the sport in the fight against HIV in Bulawayo.
The programmeme, dubbed “Skills for Youth” was launched at Mawaba Primary School in Lobengula.

They have also established “Legacy Pitches” at Inyathi Youth Centre in Mpopoma and Magwegwe Primary School.

1 COMMENT

  1. Big up to Fifa for that Project(Development) it means a lot to uMthwakazi. No one in our Country can bring such development to our Province. Hoping it will be run professionally and make a difference in our children’s life.

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