Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa yesterday pledged to flood the whole country with organised football after he donated equipment to 154 football teams in the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Chiyangwa said ZIFA’s mission is in tandem with the Government’s policy of spreading the game and has targeted even the uniformed forces to look for latent talent.
This was ZIFA’s third donation inside a month after handing over training and playing kits to the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.
Chiyangwa handed over part of the consignment, which included soccer balls, boots, bags, gloves and shin pads to Chairperson of the ZRP Sports Association, Commissioner Mekia Tanyanyiwa.
The other portion will be delivered once the shipment arrives in the country.
The equipment will also benefit the police flagship team ZRP FC (formerly Black Mambas) who are currently playing in the ZIFA Northern Region Division One.
“You cannot have one team. You have got so many police officers and most of them, from what I have seen, are young.
“There is talent that I want to pick from there and nurture it because we would want to have as many football teams as we can in Zimbabwe.
“We have to emulate China, they are doing the same programme with so much success. They are even importing world stars so that their players learn from them.
“They are building huge facilities. I am scheduled to travel to China in order to establish some sort of relationship so that we can even have our players going there.
“So I will provide equipment and material enough for 154 teams,” said Chiyangwa.
He said the Government policy, which targets to establish 8 000 community clubs, will be achieved in football.
“I focus on football and on that alone I am in a position to get support – financial and material – from my principals, who are CAF and FIFA. Today (yesterday) I will travel to Egypt to push for more support and other activities that I think should come this way.
“I am endeavouring to catch up with others. We have been sidelined for years. The leadership that was in football wasn’t astute, smart and aggressive as I am and consequentially we lost out.
“The years we wasted with a tired leadership resulted in us being where we are today. So the speed with which I am travelling is at least to try and catch up with the others where we had lost 10 years. That’s why I want to flood the entire country with football.
“We are receiving so much support for football and we are planning for the recovery of football. We have enough resources specifically for that, we have the money and we are not like the old ZIFA.
“But the money that we get is not meant to pay off the debts that were incurred under the previous leadership. The intention is that football must carry on, the dead must die with their debts. We need to focus on new developments,” said Chiyangwa.
Tanyanyiwa said the force appreciated the gesture by ZIFA.
“We feel very excited with the vision of the president of ZIFA in the development of sport. As an organisation I think you are aware we have eight professional teams, male teams that are in the first division and three teams that are in the Women Super League.
“So we are an organisation that values sport and football in particular.
“Why we are excited is because I think you are all aware that finances are not easy to come by these days but this gesture will go a long way in helping us realise our vision of developing sport especially football,” said Tanyanyiwa.