The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
REGULAR competitive football is set to become a permanent feature in the dusty grounds in Mbembesi following the launch of the Wolanani Football League, which has affiliated under the Zifa Area Zones.
Football is a pervasive sport that has managed to touch the imaginations of many and Mbembesi, about 40km outside Bulawayo along Harare road, has also had its fair share of keen footballers but they had to resign themselves to play irregular social soccer matches.
The league on Friday launched the Vus’isizwe Cup as a precursor to the start of the league matches at the end of the month.
The tournament sponsored to the tune of R6 000 saw six teams fighting it out to be the inaugural holders and was played yesterday in Mbembesi.
Mbembesi community member and businessman, Dalindyebo Mtyida Mdlangathi said they intend to use the league as a springboard to catapult talented footballers into limelight in the country’s topflight league and beyond.
Mdlangathi, who is sponsoring the Cup and league, said their dreams are beyond just having a tournament and league but they intend setting up a stadium and an academy to fish out young talent.
“When we see football players shining on the world stage it is not because they just woke up and found themselves at the top, they were moulded, crafted and refined in academies as they were growing up and we feel that is something we have to do in Mbembesi.
“I can’t say we don’t have talented football in Mbembesi because we have not seen any in the Premiership but it is the opportunity they were lacking. With the formation of the league we will make it easier for players to emerge.
“We have also managed to secure land through the efforts of Chief Ndondo and our councillor, Veti Tshuma, which we have earmarked for building a multi-discipline sporting academy including a football stadium,” he said.
Mdlangathi, who is also a pastor at Apostolic Faith and Acts Church, said they would also be promoting women participation in sport through formation of netball and soccer leagues.
Zifa Southern Region chairman, Andrew Tapela said there is a lot of talent in rural areas and with the right nurturing many obscure footballers can make it big.
“We need to give more rural boys a chance and for us this league presents us with that opportunity because there is a lot of talent.
Zifa Southern Region Area Zones chairman, Charles Chunda commended efforts by the Mbembesi community to launch organised football and register as an affiliate.
He said they are part of the grassroots regime they are building and which will be receiving support from Zifa.
Mdlangathi said following a visit by Highlanders coach, Madinda Ndlovu they were motivated to come up with the league and will be partnering top teams in the league as they produce future stars.