Chirozvani sets up football academy Timothy Chirozvani

Special Correspondent

TIMOTHY Chirozvani has revealed bold plans to establish a football academy in Harare. 

This follows the success of the Chirozvani Football Tournament — an annual juniors tournament in Chirumanzu that he bankrolls, which is now in its third year running. 

The former Tongogara and Blackpool captain, who also turned out for Darryn T and CAPS United, is now based in the United Kingdom and revealed the plans in an online podcast “Let’s Talk, Ngatitaure, Asikhulume”.

While the juniors’ tournament is held in his birthplace of Chirumanzi, he said the academy will be based in Harare. 

Although the tournament will form the fount of the academy, players will be scouted from all over the country and brought to Harare where they will be provided with education and accommodation while they hone their football skills. 

“The registration process of the academy is currently underway with ZIFA and we already have the accommodation in place. Our academy will not charge players but instead, we will pay their school fees and provide them with allowances. What we are saying is whoever is good must come.” 

This is a remarkable gesture of benevolence for a player who somehow did not get as much recognition from football despite a decent career spanning more than a decade in the country’s top flight. 

For a player who captained Tongogara for three consecutive seasons after a stint with Darryn T before returning to the capital to claim the armband at star-studded Blackpool and finishing his career at Harare giants CAPS United, to hardly be in the limelight is one of football’s biggest throws of injustice.

However, the former defender has no room for bitterness but pride in his accomplishments and a remarkable goodwill to give back to football the priceless legacy that underwrites the future of Zimbabwean football.

The decimation of once vibrant junior football structures in the country spells a bleak future for the game, and individuals like Chirozvani are playing an active part in reviving the foundation of the game. 

In the wide-ranging interview with Zimpapers Sports, Chirozvani reflected on his football career which started at Black Rhinos juniors and took him to Darryn T, Tongogara, Blackpool, and CAPS United. 

He was a BP League Cup runner-up with CAPS United when the Harare giants lost 2-1 to Lancashire Steel in the 1999 final. 

While he looks at the game with the pride of having featured in a game of such magnitude for one of the country’s biggest teams, however, still rues the decision to attempt controlling the ball and initiating a move from the back instead of lumping it forward while fiery striker Luke Petros was breathing down his neck. 

Petros robbed him of the ball and scored the opening goal. 

“I know I let the team down because I could have just cleared the ball but I thought I had enough time to control the ball and build from the back. But the guy (Luke Petros) pushed me and I fell. And the referee gave it to them.”

His best game in the CAPS United green, however, was the semi-final of the same tournament against Highlanders at Barbourfields in which he capped a man-of-the-match performance with an assist for one of the goals in their 3-1 victory. He reflects with somewhat comical regret at missing a chance to score what would have been one of the best goals on a Zimbabwean football pitch when he ran the full length of the ground, weaving past opponents as though they didn’t exist, only to shoot into the side net upon coming face to face with the goalkeeper. 

“I ran out of energy and also lacked composure, otherwise I could have scored a great goal.”

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