THE partnership between English Premiership champions Chelsea and Shield deodorant has been hailed as refreshing and a potential game changer for Zimbabwean football. The marriage between “the two championship brands” will see Chelsea expanding their scouting network to local shores. The move will be an expansion of the existing partnership with Shield in South Africa and the main aim will be to inspire “young, ambitious Africans who understand that achieving success requires hard work, practice, and absolute dedication — both on and off the field.” Zimbabwe Under-17 coach Moses “Bambo” Chunga, who played in Belgium at the height of his career, is excited about the ground-breaking partnership.
“Many people always ask me why we don’t have local players in the EPL and my answer has always been the same — we don’t have the links although we have the talent,” said Chunga.
“However, when corporates such as Unilever come through and support football at the all-important grassroots level, the future can only be bright. This partnership between Chelsea and Shield will give local football a massive boost. It’s not only about the players, even us the coaches will benefit by having these scouts coming to our country.”
The legendary Peter Ndlovu stands proud as the only Zimbabwean so far to have broken into the English Premiership without making any stop-overs. Benjani Mwaruwari had to pass through Switzerland and France while Bruce Grobbelaar had to first polish his craft in the North American Soccer League with Vancouver Whitecaps before being snatched up by Liverpool in 1981. Chelsea are home to Nigerian international Victor Moses and their commercial director Chris Townsend is excited about a partnership that is set to widen their African scouting network to countries such as Zimbabwe.
“The Chelsea Foundation continues to lead the way in improving the lives of young people all over the world and we now look forward to extending across Africa, the fantastic grassroots initiative that we have already delivered in South Africa with Shield,” he said. Shield Brand manager for Southern Africa Chengetai Mujakachi reckons the trick lies in local starlets exuding confidence and stepping onto the plate when the defining hour comes.
“Confidence to perform in the moments that matter can often be the difference between winning and losing,” said Mujakachi.
“With Shield, Zimbabwe’s number one selling deodorant, anyone can have the confidence to take on the day, no matter what their movements are. When you move with purpose, you get things done. This partnership will pave the way for future Zimbabwean footballers and will give them the confidence and skills to make their dreams to become a reality. And Chelsea is the perfect partner for Shield to support promising young African talent and give them the opportunity to show their abilities at an international level because these types of opportunities don’t come around every day.”