By Tadious Manyepo
Finally, they have remembered he needs their helping hand.
Just when he was about to quit junior football.
Jerry Mutambarika is not a well-known figure on the local football scene.
But, he is a key man.
Khama Billiat, Kelvin Mushangazhike, Eddie Mashiri, Samson Choruwa,Tatenda Mukuruva, Devon Chafa, Cabby Kamhapa, Felix Kuswatuka, Juan Mutudza, Fidelity Mangezi, Munyaradzi Mashiri, Blessing Maunganidze…
The list is endless.
All were taught the very basics of the game by this man.
But, a picture of a miserable Mutambarika, which was posted on a football WhatsApp platform last week, caught the attention of some of his products, including Mashiri.
He quickly sold Mutambarika’s story among his peers, including those he (Mutambarika) didn’t coach, like Alois Bunjira, Stewart Murisa and David Sengu-Maketo.
“The picture made me drop a tear. It was terrible. So, we then mobilised resources worth thousands of dollars which we have come to present to him,” said Mashiri.
“I think, this man deserves every respect for the job he is doing to develop players.
“If I am supposed to be honest and if Choruwa, Chafa and others are honest, then we have to all agree that he discovered us.”
Mashiri said it was said Mutambarika had not registered a proper football academy which would have allowed him to take development fees for each of his products.
“Nevertheless, I will blame myself for his suffering. I will blame all of us. Those who were nurtured by this man. For, we are supposed to fight in his corner for him to be recognised,” said Mashiri.
“We will help him form and register a proper academy which will allow him to earn development fees whenever his product strikes a deal.
“I am one of those who was unhappy when my development fees were given to some people who had nothing to do with that, leaving Mutambarika.”
Bunjira, who handed in the goodies on behalf of the group which consists of top coaches like Rodwell Dhlakama and Darlington Dodo, said people like Mutambarika needed support.
“Every time, we are talking of having sound grassroots development,” said Bunjira.
“Here is a man who is keen on doing all he can, even without a guarantee of a reward.
“We are saying, let’s support these guys. We have people like him in the suburbs, in the rural areas. Let’s play our role as football people.”
Mutambarika said Zimbabwean football was going down due to lack of resources.
“Working with the juniors is one of the most demanding jobs in the country, I think. Maybe, it’s the same as teaching ECDs at school. Not easy,” said Mutambarika.
“I am glad these guys have remembered me at a time like this. Junior leagues in the country are obviously needed.
“There is this issue of resources which props up always but when people are really interested, there should always be ways to counter that.
“Imagine having a Harare West junior league consisting of teams from Glen Norah, Budiriro, Highfield, Glen View, Mufakose, Ushewokunze?
“How much is needed for Glen View to play against Glen Norah in Glen View? We need to do what is right for the development of the game.”