Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
ZIFA’S Bulawayo Province is set to introduce two junior leagues for players below the age of 10 and 12 as part of developmental efforts to introduce young footballers to the game at an early age.
The province held a coaching course for junior coaches yesterday at Crescent Sports Club to equip them with the requisite skills to coach players of that age.
The province’s board member development, Mkhululi Mthunzi said the trend worldwide was four players to start formal training at ages of four years but locally leagues start at 14 years.
He said most junior football is confined to schools, which however confine the sport to only a single term and not throughout the year.
Mthunzi said the training of coaches is meant to ensure they understand grassroots coaching which is not similar to training players of other ages.
“Younger players are delicate and needed to be handled with the utmost care because that is when they are still developing their interest in football. Once we treat them badly at that tender age they will develop a negative attitude toward the sport and not want to do anything with it again.
“Techniques taught to the youngsters are different so we need to equip them properly. We will be officially launching the leagues in a fortnight,” he said.
Mthunzi said they enlisted the assistance of coaches who attended the grassroots course in Masvingo that was facilitated by Fifa instructor, Ulric Mathiot.