TWENTY Hwange junior golfers will compete in the Matabeleland Junior Golf League at the Bulawayo Golf Club on Sunday.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE SPORTS REPORTER
The junior golfers, most of them below the age of 12, will be coming from Thomas Coulter Junior and Coalfields Primary schools with those from secondary schools coming from St Ignatius, Lwendulu and Hwange High schools.
Among the golfers will be five-year-old Jonathan Brown from Coalfield as well as Ray Ndlovu and Aaron Mwampamba, both aged eight, from Thomas Coulter and Sandile Ndlovu (8) from Coalfield.
Ten-year-old Kundai Makuzha and Cameron Brown, from Coalfield, are in the team that has Gerald Tshuma (14) from St Ignatius, Tomas Coulter’s Pyres Vambe (11), Daliso Lungu and Keith Banda, both aged 13.
The team has four girls, 14-year-old Mehluko Sibanda, Sharon Dlodlo from St Ignatius, Sharon Mafuka from Lwendulu and 17-year-old Anita Mafuka from Hwange High.
Mubita Njamba, who has volunteered to take charge of the team, said he would bring in six other golfers below the age of eleven, who still had a lot to learn. Zimbabwe Professional Golfers’ vice-president and Matabeleland Junior Golfers development co-ordinator was impressed with the positive development taking place in Hwange in the sport at grassroots level.
“Over 100 children aged between five and 17 have been coming for coaching clinics and so far, we have identified natural talent with an eye for the ball. Most of them though are affected when they go to secondary schools outside Bulawayo where there are no golf courses,” Tshuma said
The talent identification programme launched by the professional golfers had successfully attracted more than 13 schools in Hwange town, but others faced transport problems to ferry children from their institutions Hwange Golf Club.
“Despite the scotching heat, most pupils from St Ignatius, Thomas Coulter Junior and Coalfields Primary schools have defied the odds and have been attending free coaching lessons under the tutelage of former teacher Mubita Njamba, who volunteered to take charge while I am on tour. This has been a positive development and some companies like J&C Engineering and Metmar Industrial have contributed tremendously by sponsoring tournaments,” Tshuma said.
The season is likely to end with a big Christmas Open Tournament where all children will be invited to take part in a bid to make it an annual event. Eight-top seeded players including four girls will first take part in the Red Ribbon HIV and Aids Family Fun Day Golf Tournament to be held at Elephant Hills next Saturday before the Christmas competition.