Former Warriors stars launch football academy

THE launch of Rising Stars Football Academy — formed by former Zimbabwe national team players aimed at tapping, nurturing and imparting football knowledge to players — is on today.

REPORT BY SUKOLUHLE MTHETHWA

The academy will be launched at the piece of land that was donated by Bulawayo City Council along Victoria Falls Road.

Agent Sawu, Zenzo Moyo, Peter Ndlovu and his late brother Adam, ex-Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari, Musa Mguni and Nkosana Gumbo are the founder board members of the academy.

Sawu and Gumbo are also in the Board of Trustees.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Province governor Cain Mathema is expected to officially launch the academy.

Speaking at a Press conference yesterday, football legend Agent Sawu said the academy’s main aim was football development.

“We are having a ground-breaking ceremony for Rising Stars Football Academy tomorrow (today). We decided to form the academy after realising that we were falling short on the national team especially in development. Players like Lionel Messi did not just start at Barcelona, but came from junior national teams playing under qualified coaches”

“The sporting legends believe support and life-skills can mould children in terms of discipline, dedication and devotion. This is important if a player is to be successful.”

He appealed to the corporate world and parents to assist in the establishment of the 16 000-square-metre academy which will also see the construction of a clubhouse, restaurant and a bar in order for it to be self-sufficient.

Today’s ceremony will also be used as a fundraising initiative while football legends like Willard “Mashinkila” Khumalo and former Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo are also expected to attend.

The academy had 69 children playing in the Zifa under-14, 16 and 18 leagues.

Administrator Khanyile Dlamini said: “The academy was formed in 2010 so that players find employment at the end of their careers. It is also a way of giving back to the community. We started coaching programmes in schools whereby children would train once or twice a week. We then decided to make it a continuous programme,” she said.

She said the programme continued in 2011 at Archers Sports Club where they underwent expert training from football legends before they decided to register the players in the Zifa Junior Leagues to give them competition.

Khumalo said they had recruited children from Pumula where Sawu grew up.

Sawu was part of the Dream Team which had the likes of Peter and the late Adam.

The former Warriors forward said Adam, who passed away in a tragic accident last week, had left a huge void that would be hard to fill.

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