Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket is reportedly keen on using the Bulawayo-based Old Mutual Heath Streak Cricket Academy as a centre for developing players between the ages of 17 and 20 years old.
The acclaimed multi-sports academy stationed at McDonald Club, along 4th Avenue extension, was set up in 2013, with the objective of developing cricket at the grassroots level.
Speaking at a press conference held at the academy yesterday, national cricket team coach Heath Streak said negotiations are in progress for ZC to use the Old Mutual Heath Streak Cricket Academy as the national association’s developmental academy.
“Relations with ZC are good as we’re not competing with them at all. We’re there to support and work closely with ZC towards developing cricketers. As it is, ZC approached us for the use of the academy as a developmental academy for Under-17 to Under-20 cricketers. We’re negotiating with them with the possibility of partnering ZC because our belief is that the academy must build future stars to represent our country. We’re there to complement and contribute to national teams,” said Streak.
Yesterday’s press conference was called to unveil Streak as the new president of the Heath Streak Academy Trust.
The new trust takes over the functions of the dissolved board that was led by Elifasi Mashaba.
Streak said the academy will continue working hard towards training and exposing aspiring cricketers from schools without sporting facilities to elite coaching.
He said he is happy that the academy has managed to produce eight players that have made it to the national age groups teams.
According to Streak, they expect to see some of their products knocking on the senior national team doors in five years’ time.
“What we’re simply doing is to step up the level between schools and provincial cricket. We’re focusing on primary level because the way that fixtures are structured, most seniors play their games during weekends, which makes it difficult for us to concentrate on secondary school going cricketers. However, in about four to five years time we expect to see some of the kids with us breaking into the national level,” Streak said.
Streak said in their endeavour to turn the facility into a world class centre, they are relocating the academy’s chief executive officer Joseph Rego to Harare where it was cheaper to source funding for their projects.
The academy wants to construct a pavilion with changing rooms and showers, build accommodation quarters for visiting schools, institutions and academics from Zimbabwe and across the world.
They also intend to refurbish the swimming pool, source professional bowling equipment and establish another academy in Harare.