ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa yesterday urged the Air Force of Zimbabwe to transform into a strong football force after donating equipment to be used by the organisation’s 21 teams.
Chiyangwa handed over a consignment which included soccer balls, boots, ball bags, gloves and shin pads to the AFZ director-general operations Air Commodore Biltim Chingono at a private ceremony.
The Air Force of Zimbabwe sponsors teams such as Blue Swallows, Blue Jets and Chapungu who are currently playing in the Castle Lager Premiership. “My responsibility is to represent world football, FIFA, in Zimbabwe. So the support will flow, it’s unimpeded by anything. So it’s up to you whether the equipment is used wisely. It’s supposed to be an intense programme where we continuously give you stuff.
“That is what is going to happen and you have to transform yourselves into a strong footballing Airforce which can be able to play competitively against neighbouring forces in Botswana or South Africa. “That’s what I want to create out of this exercise. It’s something that I want to support,” said Chiyangwa.
The AFZ have 21 teams at their different bases with Chapungu who are playing in the Castle Lager Premiership the flagship side.
Chingono said the equipment will benefit their development sides and other community teams under their wings.
The AFZ have been finding it difficult under the harsh economic environment leading to the streamlining of support to football and the collapse of teams such as Chapungu Queens that was playing in the Women’s Super League.
“This donation holds a new era not only in the Air Force of Zimbabwe, but soccer as a whole in Zimbabwe. The Air Force of Zimbabwe has got a soccer development programme and some of the teams are the ones that are going to benefit most from this donation. “I was greatly impressed by your generosity to say that it’s an on-going programme and not a one-time event.
“I want to promise you that we will put it to good use and when your teams come we will be as open as possible to show them how we utilised the donation which you gave us. “So far we have one team in the PSL. In the past we used to have three including Blue Jets and Swallows, but because of resources constraints the Airforce commander saw it fit that let’s concentrate on one.
“But with the introduction of such programmes I would want to assure you that when I go back and report to the Airforce commander he might consider the option. “We are capable of producing quality players who can play not only in Zimbabwe, but internationally. We have produced the likes of Maxwell Dube and Kennedy Chihuri in the past,” said Chingono.