A SPORTS academy aimed at nurturing and developing junior soccer and netball talent will soon be opened in Gokwe, it has emerged.
This was said by Direct Contact Express co-owner and managing director Plaxedus Koke at the recently held direct contact Under-14 soccer and netball invitational tournament at Cheziya High School in Gokwe, which the company sponsored.
Koke said they intend to identify, nurture and develop junior talent in Gokwe by investing in a junior sports academy that will cater for boys and girls’ soccer as well as netball in various age groups.
“Very soon we are going to open a sports academy here in Gokwe that will accommodate both boys and girls soccer as well as netball. It is our desire to ensure that there is no potential talent in this district [Gokwe South] that goes to waste and as such we want to harvest and nurture talent at grassroots levels,” Koke said.
She added that they want to emulate successful academies such as Harare’s BN Academy and Aces Youth Academy and Bulawayo’s Inline Academy.
“We are going to engage professionals to ensure that everything is run professionally. Just look at Bheki’s academy [BN Academy], you can tell there is a hand of professionals there. That is what we intend to imitate. These rural kids are disadvantaged because they do not get developmental facilities and as such their talent ends up going down the drain” added Koke who runs a thriving bus company.
She said that Gokwe was an easy choice for the academy as it is part of their company’s social responsibility programme in the area which is serviced by their buses.
Koke’s gesture was welcomed by the Gokwe community who said it will help in identifying and nurturing of talent in the area.
Wilson Chichevo, who is involved in the development of junior soccer talent in Gokwe through an initiative known as Catch Them Young said what Koke intends to do will go a long way in reviving football in Gokwe which has in the past produced stars such as George Mbwando and Energy Murambadoro among others.
“Gokwe has a lot of talent that goes without saying. This year Gokwe provided NASH Coca-Cola Under-16 Midlands champions as well as NAPH midlands representatives at the national finals so there is no question about talent in this part of the country. The boys just need a platform to develop and proper guidance to ensure that they don’t go astray. This initiative by Direct Contact management is more than welcome. I just hope other stakeholders can take a leaf from it and spread it to other disadvantaged rural communities because there is a lot of raw talent in marginalised communities” Chichevo said.