Good old days roll back in Mabvuku
Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
MABVUKU Stadium has been a key component of the country’s football discourse.
Popularly known as the Number One Grounds, the facility used to be a renowned factory for polished footballers.
The late legendary CAPS United midfielder Joe “Kode” Mugabe, his brother Innocent, the Mugeyi twins William and Wilfred, Chimedza siblings Cephas and Elton, Sageby Sandaka, goalkeepers Brenna “Baba Gari” Msiska and Ephraim Mazarura as well as Simon Choenda and Robson Masauso among others were all groomed at this facility.
But all that has changed.
For more than a decade now, the factory has been literally lying idle especially with the venue having been run down by vandals.
Actually, no other player has made it big coming from this suburb since Marshall Munetsi made his breakthrough over eight years ago.
However, the recent establishment of second division teams-Mabvuku United and Inno Cosmos, who have joined Ali Sundowns in the fray, have brought hope Mabvuku will once again be the hub for player production.
Even more positive is the fact that the Number One Grounds-a complex with two football fields, a rugby pitch, cricket, tennis and basketball courts is undergoing some massive upgrade courtesy of prospective legislator for the area, Scott Sakupwanya.
And the latter has been hosting sports tournaments over the past few months as a way of kicking out the menacing drug and substance abuse scourge amongst the youths.
His company, Betterbrands last week also financed a high stakes Africa Day Cup that pitted Mabvuku United and Masvingo United.
The stadium was packed to capacity with the Mabvuku folks getting a chance to witness the 2005 Premiership runners-up in action.
Masvingo United are now playing in the ZIFA Eastern Region Division One Soccer League but it didn’t matter at the end of the day as multitudes flocked to witness the action.
Isaac Nyazenga scored the only goal of the match to help Mabvuku United to a 1-0 victory.
Several scouts also attended the match and a number of youngsters from both teams have since been earmarked and they could make big moves in the upcoming PSL mid-season window.
Sakupwanya said his wish is to facilitate the growth of grassroots sports.
“Looking at Mabvuku, I grew up here playing football in this stadium and we had a number of players who graduated into professional football from this venue,” said Sakupwanya.
“We want to revive that culture. Sport should start from the base and it should be a systematic phenomenon.
“I have undertaken to renovate this facility for the benefit of everyone. We also want to see women playing sports so we will support them as well. “We need to keep our youths occupied so that they can stay away from drugs.
“We want to roll back the good old days where youngsters would flock to community sports centres and hone their skills. We have so many sportspersons who have made it from this stadium”.
Former Warriors goalkeeper Ephraim Mazarura saluted the initiative.
“As a country we need more of these. Youths in Mabvuku are now mostly preoccupied with sports courtesy of Scott Sakupwanya,” said Mazarura. “As someone who was nurtured in this environment, I would like to urge the youths to stay disciplined and focused. They should take sport seriously”.