Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
LOCAL football legends have teamed up to set up a football school of excellence which they hope to use to churn out refined talent.
The school will see players from ages of six being groomed to become the country’s next football stars.
Gibson Homela, Cosmas Zulu, Lawrence Phiri and Douglas Mloyi have come together to create the Legends School of Excellence which they intend turning into a fully fledged academy that will produce players from across the country.
Phiri said they would be partnering one primary and one secondary school, which would be used as central points for the academy as per Fifa regulations.
He said they were motivated by the lack of a proper academy in Bulawayo to create the school.
“We have engaged two schools and we are finalising negotiations and I believe by 1 September when we start training the upcoming footballers we would have concluded the agreements. We realised there is lack of a formal footballing in Bulawayo and we decided we can play a role in setting up one.
“We understand football has evolved over time and things are now done differently and to produce a fine footballer you need to take them through several stages and dedicate a certain amount of time to training and also include the education aspect,” said Phiri.
He said they will use the rest of this year to assess players they will register for the academy at the beginning of next year. The player will be registered at one school and offered bursaries for their fees.
Phiri added they will have a holistic approach that prepares the players for a professional footballer’s career path and academic careers, with one getting the option to choose later in life.
Registration is at Walk-along Sports shop in the city. Phiri said they were setting up a holiday camp that will see youngsters being taken through their paces as they prepare to choose players that would form the core of the initial students of the academy.
“We are going to employ only approved, qualified and registered instructors, coaches and resource persons to ensure we offer the best service. We want to come up with something different that would make a change countrywide.
“We believe we still have much to contribute to the game we love so dearly and being a sport that we dedicated the better part of our lives to, it’s hard not being involved so we decided to find an avenue through which we will continue taking part in the game. We have engaged possible sponsors for the bursaries while we will also earmark funds from our other enterprises into supporting upcoming talent,” he said.
The group has already negotiated with a primary and secondary school to go into a partnership while registration with Zifa and the Sports and Recreation Commission in ongoing.
Phiri revealed the school of excellence will be headed by Homela together with Zulu.
He said the academy is one part of a company they have created which includes a sports wear manufacturing and distribution arm, a sports development consultancy and a sports tourism section.
Homela and Zulu have been involved in the technical aspects of the game coaching at various levels and have facilitated at coaching courses.