Collin Matiza Sports Editor
AFTER setting the South African football scene alight for almost a decade in the 1990s, two of Zimbabwe’s most revered identical twins – Wilfred and William Mugeyi – have decided to give back to the community by opening a soccer academy in that country.
Named the Mugeyi Sports Academy, the new project, which is located at Kidds Beach and Willow Park in East London, will open its doors for young, aspiring South African male and female footballers on Monday.
Speaking to The Herald from his base in East London yesterday, one of the Mugeyi twins, William, said they mooted the idea of setting up their own academy after seeing that there was a lot of untapped talent in their adopted country of South Africa.
“It is myself and Silver Fox (Wilfred Mugeyi) who are behind its formation. We have been playing around with the idea for quite sometime, but due to other commitments it wasn’t easy.
“We felt now this is the right time to give back to the community and help youngsters to fulfil their dreams of one day play top-flight football. Wilfred and I are the heads of the academy, we set up the training programmes for the coaches.
“In fact, Wilfred came through the Ajax Cape Town Academy (coaching structures) and he’s been there for as long as I can remember, he coached in the academy so he’s got vast experience and knowledge of making it (the Mugeyi Sports Academy) a success.
“At the moment we have three coaches, including myself, for the Under-13, 15, 17 and 19. We are still growing,” said William, who captained the Zimbabwe senior team to their first COSAFA Cup title in 2000.
He added that the aim and objectives of setting up their own academy is to give back to the community and help boys and girls who want to take football as a career and also as a form of exercise.
The academy at the moment is funded by the Mugeyi twins with the help of some good Samaritans in South Africa.
“It is just a passion and the love of the game that will keep us going. As time goes on we will start looking for sponsorship, so we do not have a budget for it now.
“The academy is located in Kidds Beach and Willow Park, we are going to use two training facilities to try and minimise boys and girls from travelling long distances to and from training.
“By the way as we speak now, we are opening another branch in Cape Town that will start running in a month’s time. Silver Fox (Wilfred) will be in charge of that one and lastly our next objective is to open another academy in Zimbabwe where we grew up in Harare’s high-density suburb of Mabvuku,” William said.
The Mugeyi twins have been staying in South Africa for close to 30 years now after having arrived there in 1993 when they left the now-defunct Zimbabwean Premiership outfit Black Aces.
They were both first snatched by that country’s former Premiership side Umtata Bush Bucks a year after Wilfred Mugeyi had won the Soccer Star of the Year award in Zimbabwe in 1992.
Then a forceful striker, Wilfred was the most talented of the identical twins and was a nightmare for many South African defenders during his one-year stay at Umtata Bush Bucks and this saw him earning himself a season-loan spell at Israeli giants Maccabi Haifa in 1995.
And for the first time in his career, that also saw him starting a football life without his twin brother William.
But Wilfred only spent a year in Israel and was back at Umtata Bush Bucks where he played for four more years before he briefly joined Chinese side Shenyang Haishi in 2000.
After that Wilfred also played for South African sides Ajax Cape Town and Free State Stars before he hung up his boots in 2007.
Wilfred was also part of the history-making Warriors squad that became the first national team to feature at the African Cup of Nations when Sunday Chidzambwa led his men to the finals in Tunisia in 2004.