THE Heath Streak Consultancy and Sports Development-run football academy on Friday launched an Under-8 to U12 co-ed (boys and girls) football league to be dubbed the Bulawayo Children’s Soccer League (Buchsole) with the hope of starting the programme next year.
The league, a first in the country, is the brainchild of coach Dalubuhle Bhebhe, who runs the Heath Streak football section and will incorporate academies, schools and private clubs. It has received the blessing of Zifa.
Zifa Bulawayo Province Junior League chairman Mkhululi Mthunzi applauded the move.
“Zifa is currently looking for partners in football development. It was at the end of 2012 that as an association we realised that we had one young man who has a passion for football, among many activities that we have and that guy is Dalubuhle Bhebhe.
“We called him as an association and said we were looking at what he was doing at primary schools. We said what if we came together?
“We sat down and agreed that we appoint coaches for all age groups and we gave him the Under-12. He is our provincial Under-12 coach.
“The age group that has been a problem to us as Zifa is the Under-8 to U-12. We are not accommodating them in our present structures.
“I am very happy that this young man has done his homework and harnessed partners and what was a dream now looks like a reality and we will see a league of the Under-8 to U-12.
“Zifa has granted permission to him to have that league running. One thing that has impressed us is the partners that he has taken on board.
“The Heath Streak Academy has adopted schools through companies who have provided equipment.
“Equipment is a major problem that we have as Zifa. We are very grateful for a job well done. I can assure you that as an association we are 100% behind the project,” Mthunzi said.
Bhebhe thanked Zifa and to explain the league format.
“If Zifa is giving us all the support that we need, I think it will give us all the courage.
“This league is going to be a co-ed soccer league meaning both boys and girls can play in the same team in whatever age group.
“Academies are being registered at Zifa, but they are not active and schools are just playing at school periodically once a year during the second term.
“We would like to encourage schools to play football all year round.
“We are going to adopt the Fifa recommended game formats and training methods that are enshrined in the grassroots soccer manual,” Bhebhe said.
Emphasis will be on technique development and not results in the league and Bhebhe will facilitate the training of specialised soccer educators, administrators and referees to suit the league.
“We have liaised with the Brazil Institute and they are willing to develop these soccer educators. The potential candidates will have the opportunity to sit for a Brazilian exam.
“We are going to try and train as many coaches in that area.”
Fifa instructor Kennedy Ndebele and Zifa education officer Brian Moyo will facilitate training for administrators.
Bhebhe said they will engage the Zifa Referees Committee who will identify people to educate the league’s referees in line with the rules for the age group.
Equipment for the children will be readily available at sports shops that have already been identified by the Heath Streak Academy while football centres will be identified around the city to host festivals so as to reduce the financial burden of participants.
Bhebhe paid tribute to Naph and the Heath Streak Consultancy and Sports Development. He is a Level Three coach who holds international qualifications from the RCD Espanyol de Barcelona and Instituto Brasileiro de Football and the Heath Streak football section was launched in August and currently has over 20 students.