Collin Matiza Sports Editor
TEAM Zimbabwe are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the 2016 Homeless World Cup as they have now engaged several partners in the UK, including former Zimbabwean soccer stars, ahead of this global football tournament that is scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in July.
The Homeless World Cup is an annual tournament organised by the Homeless World Cup organisation, a social organisation which advocates the end of homelessness through the world’s most popular sport — football (or soccer).
The organisation puts together an annual football tournament where teams of homeless people from each country compete and the 14th edition of the Homeless World Cup will take place in Glasgow from July 10-16.
The tournament will take place in the heart of Glasgow, on George Square, which, for the duration of the seven-day event, will be “the most inspiring place on the planet.”
In total, 64 teams, representing 51 countries, including Zimbabwe, will come together to celebrate and highlight the year-round life changing work of the Homeless World Cup National Partner network.
And Team Zimbabwe, who took part in the last Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam, Netherlands, last year, are once again preparing to take part in the same tournament for the second year running in Glasgow in July where they will be part of more than 512 players who will be arrive in the Scottish city for this big football jamboree.
Petros Chatiza, the co-ordinator of Team Zimbabwe for the Homeless World Cup, said yesterday that they are now in the process of engaging several Zimbabweans, who are based in the UK, to help them in their final preparations for the Glasgow event.
And among the first people to respond to Team Zimbabwe’s request for some assistance are Team Zimbabwe UK who work on the Zimbabwe Diaspora Football Development Strategy with the Ministry of Sport and ZIFA, focusing mainly on harnessing Diaspora talent to support our national teams.
The director of Team Zimbabwe UK, Marshall Gore, told The Herald from his base in the UK yesterday that they were “more than willing” to help Team Zimbabwe in their final preparations for this year’s Homeless World Cup.
“We will support Team Zimbabwe for the Homeless World Cup all the way. (And) I will (soon) speak with my executive to see how best we can help this team before they travel to Glasgow to take part in this international event,” Gore said.
Former Dynamos centre-back Chamu Musanhu, who is now based in Liverpool, has also agreed to work with Team Zimbabwe ahead of the World Cup and he recently indicated that he has arranged for them to play a number of friendly matches against the Liverpool Homeless World Cup Football Club a week before the start of the main tournament in Glasgow.
Another UK-based former Zimbabwean footballer, Frank “Dealer” Nyamukuta, also indicated yesterday that he was willing to help Team Zimbabwe by sourcing for some playing kit “and all the other stuff” that they will use during the July 10-16 tournament.
“I will be very honoured to assist in anyway I can. I will see what I can come up with. I might also try to talk to some guys I know who can also help,” Nyamukuta said from his base in London yesterday.
His former teammate at CAPS United, Innocent Mugabe, who is now heavily involved in coaching young footballers in the UK, also said he was ready to come in and “coach and advise” Team Zimbabwe ahead of the 2016 Homeless World Cup.
“I’m happy to come and help with any advice on the coaching side as I am the Team Zimbabwe UK technical advisor. Let me see how best I can help as we have our own Team Zimbabwe UK so I will speak to our chairman who is Liberty Masunda and then see how best we can help our fellow countrymen who are coming up here for the Homeless World Cup.
“In fact, we’ll be meeting in April to do trials for our own Team Zimbabwe UK which will be playing here in May and I will push the guys to buy kits and balls for the Homeless World Cup team,” Mugabe said.
And the co-ordinator of Team Zimbabwe for the Homeless World Cup, Chatiza, said yesterday that the coming in of these “Good Samaritans” was a welcome development for them “as this will lessen our burden of having to look for the playing kit and other stuff ahead of the 2016 Homeless World Cup”.
“I would like to thank our brothers who are now based in the UK for agreeing to help us in getting the playing kit that we will use at the Homeless World Cup and we are now appealing to local well-wishers here in Zimbabwe to help us to raise the airfares for our trip to the UK for the Homeless World Cup.”
Chatiza said they are looking at raising about $16 500 for the airfares of their 13-member delegation for the 2016 Homeless World Cup in Glasgow.
“Remember, our brother Chamu Musanhu has already indicated that the Liverpool Homeless Football Club have agreed to host us in Liverpool for about a week before we travel to Glasgow for the main event and this means we first have to fly from Harare to London and then connect to Liverpool for our one-week training camp.
“So, we are now desperately trying to raise the airfares for our trip to the UK as all the other expenses such as food and accommodation will be catered for by the organisers of the 2016 Homeless World Cup once we get to Glasgow,” Chatiza said.