By Mthokozisi Dube
FORMER football players based in Bulawayo have embarked on an intensive talent identifying programme to contribute to the development of the game at grassroots level.
Football coaching has been the preferred route for most former players at the end of their playing careers.
While the majority prefer coaching big clubs in the Premier Soccer League and Division One, former Zimbabwe Saints player, Lungile Thebe and former Highlanders and Mwana Africa player, Graham Ncube have opted for grassroots football development.
The duo say they derive their passion from the fact that Nguboyenja sports fields have churned out footballers like the Bulawayo Chiefs pair of Obriel Chirinda and Dalubuhle Dlodlo.
“Football has been our everyday life experience and as such, we have committed our time to nurture and develop these young stars,” said Lungile Thebe.
Junior football development has somewhat been neglected in the past few years, but the local football mother body, ZIFA has embarked on an outreach programme in rural areas which is expected to give young footballers an opportunity to showcase their talent.
“I am happy to be assisting my brother in developing these young stars. I can’t live off football. We are dealing with the under 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and under 20s,” said Graham Ncube.
Other Premier Soccer League teams such as Highlanders, FC Platinum, Herentals and Ngezi Platinum also have sound junior development structures with their youth teams competing in division one football.