The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
REAL Betis and its Foundation have renewed their sports project in Zimbabwe with the help of the Athletes Sphere Management agency.
On Tuesday, the Spanish club said the first Betis Academy on the African continent is part of their strategic plan to extend their brand and methodology throughout the world, educate through football and transmit the values of the institution.
“The Verdiblanco club, through its Foundation, created this Academy in Zimbabwe last October 2020, specifically in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, in order to develop grassroots football in the area by implementing the club’s methodology, although it could not be fully realized by the world health situation. This renovation was born with the illusion that this year all the objectives of the sports project can be met,’’ read a statement from Real Betis.
Juan Parra, the head of the Sports Area of the Real Betis Balompié Foundation, has valued the renovation of this Betis Academy in Zimbabwe.
“We are delighted to continue in Harare and we are looking forward to visiting the Academy on site. We hope that during this season the activity can develop normally. With this project we work so that the youngest can enjoy football through the Club’s methodology and improve their soccer qualities,’’ Parra said.
Gerald Sibanda, head of Betis Academy in Zimbabwe, pointed out during his visit to Benito Villamarín for the renewal of the agreement said there has been a lot of excitement since the launch of the academy last year.
“In Harare everyone wears green and white. Despite the pandemic, we remain very optimistic about the future of soccer in Zimbabwe. We hope that the Academy in our country will continue to grow soccer in Zimbabwe and hopefully one day we will have a player from Zimbabwe playing in La Liga,’’ said Sibanda.
He went on to further state that the Covid-19 restrictions in Zimbabwe have had a negative impact on the academy’s operations but that has not wiped out the aspirations of Zimbabwe’s youth.
“I have signed a contract extension for our football Academy in Zimbabwe with Real Betis Foundation and Real Betis Balompie. The Covid-19 lockdowns affected our first year of operations but that will not destroy the dreams and future of youth Football in Zimbabwe. Our Academy brings hope to Zimbabwe and to Africa and we will continue our work with Real Betis to develop football in this land,’’ Sibanda said.
Real Betis Balompié and their foundation have been working for years with the smallest of the city of Seville with its Soccer School and since last season it has also created Academies in numerous municipalities in the province and Andalusia. In addition, Betis Academy is also based in Baghdad and different campuses have been developed around the world, United States of America, Mexico, Morocco and China among others.