Collin Matiza Sports Editor
SOMETHING big is brewing for the primary schools in Mbare as a United Kingdom-based former Premiership player is planning to unveil a football tournament that will feature not less than five schools every year.
The Sam Nzanga Junior Football Trophy has been named after the ex-Black Rhinos defender and central midfielder, Sam Nzanga, who has continued to show passion for junior development in Zimbabwean football.
The participating primary schools will be Shingirayi, where Nzanga started his junior education and football career, Gwinyayi, Chirodzo, Chitsere, Nharira and St Peter’s.
This tournament will be introduced in the second term of Mbare District Primary Schools as a fulfilment of Nzanga’s burning passion to give back to the community that helped shape his life.
The Sam Nzanga Junior Football Trophy will be played on a league basis, with the top two at the end competing for gold and silver medals, while the third and fourth-placed teams will get an opportunity to fight for bronze.
Football kits will be donated to each school every year in preparation for the tournament.
There will be individual rewards for the top goalscorers, player of the tournament, goalkeeper of the tournament and most disciplined player of the tournament.
Speaking from his base in Northamptonshire, England, yesterday, Nzanga said he was sponsoring this junior football tournament as a way of giving back to the community of Mbare.
“I am very delighted to have a project like this running in the neighbourhood that I grew up.
“My passion is to see young people not only developing their football skills and knowledge of the game, but participating, enjoying the game and have something to look forward to every year.
“I have seen in my time so much football talent vanishing unrewarded or unrecognised because events like this were very few.
“I get so much pleasure in youth development and through what I have learnt here in England, I am sure that I will be able to share the knowledge and also continue to learn from others.
“I call upon other former and current football stars to join in and make this a huge success for our youths.
“I am a proud father to a daughter, Freya, who has always spoken of going to Africa to donate her dolls to other children and learn the culture with them.
“Freya was born here in England and she melts my heart when she sees adverts about donations to children in Africa and struggles on how she can donate her unwanted dolls.
“I think this project will suit Freya very well, donating at such a huge scale and I am delighted to make her the patron while I oversee the project,” Nzanga said.
His daughter Freya would like to visit the participating schools and donate the kit herself and he will ensure that she is supported to do so.
“I am hoping to look for sponsorship and expand the project into other districts so that winners of each district can compete together just like the Champions League in football. I am calling for support from other former footballers, current footballers and business people to make this event possible and enjoyable for all our youths.
“We have such a beautiful country and we need to work and support one another. I am taking this as my first step to the greater heights that I am aiming.
“I hope others will follow suit or improve the idea.
“Giving back to the community that looked after us is a very important thing to me, without them I would not have achieved some of my goals. Freya and myself will work hard to ensure that our roles are played effectively.”
Nzanga also said that he was looking at sharing football coaching ideas with the coaches of the participating schools.
He will also introduce the “Four Corners of Sports” which are physical, technical, social and Psychological.
“If we empower local coaches with knowledge in these corners not only in football, but also other sports, it will be fun, enjoyable and full of direction for our young people in Zimbabwe. Let’s go Guys! we can do this!”
Nzanga was born in Mbare in 1972 and went on to play for Black Rhinos in the 1990s along with the likes of Maronga “The Bomber” Nyangela, Nesbert “Yabo” Saruchera, Sanduka “Nduke” Pakamisa, Fanuel “Kule” Nyamukapa, Jimmy “Livewire” Mbewe, Allan “Jah Bhora” Gwaze, Ian “Dibango” Gorowa, Jack Mutandagari, Peter Matoro, Manilow Mutimba and Chrispen Chawaguta.