Tadious Manyepo-Sports Reporter
JERRY Chipangura’s playing career could be over.
The Harare City striker will spend the next 14 months in prison for dealing in drugs.
And his case could just be a tip of the iceberg as far as this vice is concerned.
Sport stakeholders, including the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and the Sports Commission, have been holding workshops to conscientise athletes on the dangers of involvement in drugs.
And a legend of the game, Walter “Ringers’’ Musanhu, who runs Jadel Football Academy, which is head-quartered in Beijing, China, has decided to take the fight a notch higher.
He believes in catching them young.
The former Motor Action player is expected to launch an annual tournament that is specifically designed to end drug and substance abuse.
Themed: “Giving the youths a better future and making football a career; don’t allow drugs to rob you of your dreams”, the inaugural edition is billed to be held at Prince Edward School on December 22.
Eight Under-16 boys and girls teams will battle it out for the top prizes which include complete football kits.
Musanhu has also roped in councillors and anti-doping specialists to grace the event where they will have time to speak to the kids on the dangers of drug abuse.
Musanhu said there will also be several scouts, some of them from China, with outstanding youngsters set to get selected.
“As a former footballer, I am worried with the rate at which kids are involved in drugs (in Zimbabwe).
“It’s so sad and I think, everyone has a role to play in fighting off the scourge,” said Musanhu.
“So as Jadel Football Academy, we have decided to play our own small part to fight the vice.
“We are launching an annual tournament in which we will be bringing kids from China to play against and alongside those in Zimbabwe, both girls and boys.
“We will also bring scouts to the tournaments who can select talented kids for secondment at professional academies and teams.
“It’s our own way of fighting drug abuse and try to make kids realise their dreams,’’ Musanhu told The Herald from his base in Beijing, China, yesterday.
The inaugural tournament will also see only female referees officiating as the academy tries to promote gender balance.
“It’s very sad to hear that female officials at the highest level are being abused in return for game time.
“It saddens me and we should be human. We have made it clear that only females will be officiating at our tournaments. “This is our own way of trying to empower them. We will be trying to give them the platform to sharpen their skills. The tournament will also see both boys and girls being treated equally.”