Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
WELSH-BASED national team and Mufakose Eradicators field hockey player, Robert Muza, has succeeded in convincing the Welsh Football Trust to help conduct UEFA coaching courses in Zimbabwe.
Muza, through his organisation, Zimbabwe Newport Volunteering Association, in partnership with the Welsh FA, had initially planned to hold the UEFA C, B and A badges in Zimbabwe this year.
But, the dates have now been moved due to the corovavirus pandemic.
For years, the 50-year-old, who relocated to Wales in 2001 where he spent three years playing for Newport Hockey Club, has been helping Zimbabweans based in the European country to attain the UEFA badges.
Over 25 Zimbabweans, and 16 others from different African countries, have benefited from the programme.
Muza has now decided to take the initiative back home where several aspiring coaches, who are lacking the resources to earn the qualifications, are set to benefit.
His local foundation, Mufakose Youth Development Trust, has started putting modalities in place for what Muza says will become a permanent coach training programme once it takes off.
Speaking from his base in Wales, where he is employed as a development officer for Newport City Council, Muza said his dream was to transform the Zimbabwean sporting landscape through beneficial engagement with those from the developed world.
“Look, I am a former hockey player and sport is always on my mind. For a start, I want to help in the growth of football in the country through empowering coaches who may not be able to empower themselves,” said Muza.
“My organisation here in Wales, the ZNVA, partnered with Mufakose Youth Development some years ago and there have been some exchange programmes taking place.
“We have managed to facilitate for 21 Zimbabweans, based here, to earn a UEFA C licence while three have attained the B badge.
“The three — Andrew Nyakuhwa, Albert Chidembo and McDonald Chikadaya — are already coaching here in Wales.
“We have also helped about 16 other people from different African countries attain the UEFA C licence.
“So, through continuous engagements with authorities here, we were able to arrange for clinics back home in Zimbabwe as we want to help our countrymen and women realise their coaching dreams.
“We were supposed to start the programme this year but we have since resolved to shelve it until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We believe that by empowering the coaches, we will in a way help transform the game in the country.”
Muza has, in the past, been invited to present papers on how he empowers young African immigrants, using sport in Wales, by both UEFA and FIFA.
The Youth Sports Coaching expert, who also doubles as a cricket activator for Cricket Wales, said the coaching courses will be the beginning of several other initiatives, including taking talented footballers from Zimbabwe to Wales.
Muza, through ZNVA, has been donating foodstuffs worth thousands of dollars to vulnerable Mufakose folks every fortnight since the start of the lockdown three months ago.
Beneficiaries of the aid, including aspiring teenage footballers Nyasha Kachidza and Prince Kasara, have heaped praise on Muza.
Muza is one of the founder members of the first all-black hockey club in this country, Eradicators, who were based in Mufakose.
Under the guidance of Custom Kachambwa, Muza used to rub shoulders with the likes of dribbling wizard Aleck Isulu, the late Adam Ngoma, Jeremiah Matibiri, Erasmus Hodza, Nathan Sundayi, Anthony Fyfe, Wellington Ngoma, Harold Abrahams, Cletos Paraziva, Duncan Donkeni, Denim Mutandwa and Emmanuel Malvas.