Ray Bande Senior Reporter
A MASSIVE junior football revival project being spearheaded by the country’s football mother body – Zifa and whose official launch is pencilled for the eastern border city of Mutare – is expected to be graced by some officials from the Spanish La Liga.
The initiative by the current Zifa executive to revive the junior football structures would be an exciting fulfilment of some of the promises the executive made upon assuming office last year.
Zifa Eastern Region chairman Davison Muchena told Post Sport that the official launch should have been held last week but was shelved after officials from La Liga had requested Zifa technical director Wilson Mutekede to visit Spain and present the pros and cons of the project. Muchena said Zifa president Felton Kamambo has communicated the gesture from the La Liga officials.
“We were supposed to officially launch the project held last weekend but we had to postpone it after officials from the La Liga requested Wilson Mutekede to visit Spain to present the pros and cons of the junior football revival project.
The president informed me that some La Liga officials are likely to attend the launch in Mutare. We have always had a relationship with La Liga to the extent that they have been assisting us with some equipment, and this would be another milestone in the relationship we have always enjoyed with them,” he said.
The Zifa Eastern Region leader said Under 15 teams for boys and girls from Masvingo and Mashonaland East will compete against the same age group from Manicaland during the launch.
“During the launch, we will have a boys’ team and girls’ (Under 15) from Masvingo and Mashonaland East competing against their counterparts from Manicaland.
“The idea (for boys and girls) based in Manicaland taking part against teams from Masvingo and Mashonaland East was meant to reduce travelling costs. Mutare will be the host,” he said.
The association has since secured equipment for development of youth football across the country. The equipment, which includes soccer balls and jerseys, was unveiled in Harare recently by Kamambo, his deputy Philemon Machana and board members Farai Jere and Sugar Chagonda.
Previous administrations have failed to revive the development of football at grassroots level, which has resulted in Zimbabwe failing to make an impact on the international front.
Kamambo said a structured youth football league would be launched in the country in fulfilment of the association’s objectives.
The Zifa boss said a committee has been put in place to spearhead the youth league, starting with the Eastern Region, followed by the Southern, Central and then Harare regions.
“In line with what was agreed at our last annual general meeting, we are going to launch a structured youth league in each of the four regions,” he said.
“A committee has already been set up that will launch the youth league starting with the Eastern Region then the other regions South, Central and then Harare. We are going to have 10 clubs per region, meaning we will have 40 clubs participating in all regions.”
Kamambo said they would start with the Under 15s. Under 17s will be launched next year followed by Under 19s.
He said the teams would be kept together before graduating into the senior team.
Apart from the youth league football launch, the Zifa boss said they would also move to enhance the development of women football throughout the country.