ZIMBABWE Football Association (Zifa) vice-president Ndumiso Gumede says the football mother body welcomes the Shooting for Education and Development (SHED) programme to distribute balls to schools as a mechanism of developing soccer in the country.
Gumede said this at White City Stadium, Bulawayo on Friday where the Organisation for Rural Association Progress (Orap) led partnership to promote sport distributed 5 000 soccer balls to 44 schools from Bulawayo Metropolitan, Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and the Midlands provinces.
“It is not good for a school to have one ball. As Zifa, we welcome this development. We do believe that if we do it right in 10 years time our football will have reached somewhere,” he said.
Gumede said the association will continue to apologise to the football fraternity for the “shameful” Asiagate scandal pointing out that corruption is cancerous in the development of sport.
“We have gone wrong with the Asiagate scandal and we are very sorry about that, but we are starting afresh,” he said.
“With the aid of this programme, we will also train teachers to be proper coaches at school level.
“It is also possible to engage schools with clubs so that they assist young stars to make their dream come true,” he said.
The idea of training school teachers to be qualified soccer coaches may produce great football coaches for the country.
Chelsea coach José Mourinho who has made a mark in European football winning pieces of silverware with different European clubs is also a professional teacher.
Sport, Arts and Culture deputy minister Tabeth Kanengoni Malinga, who was the guest of honour, called for the programme to spread its wings to other regions of the country.
“We welcome this development. Hopefully it will cover other regions of the country very soon,” Kanengoni said.
US-Africa Children’s Fellowship (USACF), One World Futbol and Chevrolet represented by Autoworld Bulawayo have been supportive of the Orap led project.
Orap Chief strategy officer Dumisani Nyoni said the project will help talented children expose their abilities.
“This is a milestone event as far as the development of soccer is concerned. Through this initiative thousands of children will have a chance to showcase their talents,” Nyoni said.
USACF president Mark Grashow said the programme iwould hopefully initiate a football tournament that will be played annually.
“We are planning on introducing a football tournament that will be played every year, but we are going to make sure all children who take part are students because this programme is aimed at promoting education through sports,” Grashow said.
Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo and Small and Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni attended the event.