NATIONAL Under-20 coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu is expected to lead a group of personalities who will grace the Grassroots Soccer Zimbabwe Voluntary Counselling and Testing tournament at Nketa Grounds today.
Seven Bulawayo schools — Mncumbata, Sobukhazi, Mzilikazi, Nkulumane, Ihlathi, Emganwini and Northlea — will compete in the boys’ and girls’ categories.
Mpofu will be joined by Highlanders legend Netsai “Super” Moyo, ex-Mighty Warriors’ midfielder Nomsa “Boys” Moyo, former Highlanders striker Gift Lunga (senior) and ex-national team, Highlanders, FC Platinum and Bantu Rovers defender Zephaniah Ngodzo.
Grassroots Soccer Zimbabwe communications officer Nompumelelo Bhebhe said the football personalities will address the youths on issues to do with HIV/Aids and how youngsters can make a living through sport.
“Everything is set for the tournament and we’re looking forward to an interactive as well as educative afternoon at Nketa grounds. As Grassroots Soccer Zimbabwe we will be reaching out to the young and the old to help stop the spread of HIV. Through this initiative, we aim to contribute in overcoming great health challenges in communities and helping adolescents live healthier, more productive lives, while being agents for change in their communities.
We’re happy to announce that a number of soccer personalities, some who are still active in sport will spend the day with us and we hope their presence and messages will inspire the youths,” said Bhebhe.
She said some of the soccer personalities will educate the youngsters on sexual health, gender-based violence and making educated choices about pressing health challenges.
“Soccer dynamic lessons are incorporated so as to keep these young people engaged. When these soccer personalities, people who they admire speak the youngsters tend to pay attention. By using a soccer-based structure and curriculum, our volunteers (Skillz Coaches) build trust, engage youth in activity-based learning, and create safe spaces where young people feel comfortable asking questions, sharing opinions, and supporting their teammates.
“Importantly, soccer is fun, and the programmes create an environment where learning is not a spectator sport. The power of soccer is used to build confidence and resilience in young people so that they can take control of their lives and health, on and off the field,” she said.
She said some organisations they had partnered to make the day worthwhile include the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council, Matabeleland Aids Council and Richabites, an organisation that will educate the community on drug and alcohol abuse.