New footy school

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Shooting Stars coach, Moses Chunga had a dream of opening an academy in Waterfalls but the project never got off its feet because he could not raise the money to do so.

The project has been taken over by 25-year-old Donald Zengeni, who has officially launched the academy, Soccer Excellency Football Academy (SEFA) at Waterfalls Community Hall this week.

The academy, which has over 60 children in the Under 10 and 15 age groups, has been competing in the Mbare Junior League at Number 5 grounds since last year.

Zengeni, the director of the project, said the academy was unique in that it was being supported by the parents of the young footballers. Many parents attended the official launch on May 25.

One of the parents, the owner of a sportswear company, has donated a kit for the young players while others have chipped in with transport.

“This project would have never been possible without the support of the parents and that is what makes our project unique from others,” said Zengeni.

“Our target is now to form an Under 17 team so that we begin to participate in the provincial league and hopefully from there we can have a team from our area in the premier league in the near future,” he said.

The launch was also attended by the councillor for Waterfalls district, Cephas Zimute and the chairman of the Mbare Junior League, Shepherd Banda.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) was however not represented at the launch despite having been invited.

Soccer lovers said Zifa had lost an opportunity to show their commitment to junior football at grassroots level.

Zengeni, a former school teacher at Gateway High School where he specialised in physical education, is also a sports administrator courtesy of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee sports education programme.

Junior football development programmes in Zimbabwe have started receiving recognition after the national Under 13 football team stunned world football powerhouse Italy at the recently held VW Junior Masters tournament in Madrid, Spain.

While the VW initiative received support because of the presence of Peter Ndlovu and Edzai Kasinauyo who are the patrons of the Zimbabwe Under-13 soccer team, support should also be given to other less prominent names for junior football to succeed.