Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA have urged local legends and ex-footballers to be more involved in football development in the country. The Association’s president Philip Chiyangwa yesterday said the former players have a big role to play in grassroots development, coaching and administration. The ZIFA board engaged a group of ex-footballers in Harare. The former players who attended the meeting included former Dynamos captain Justice Majabvi, David Sengu-Maketo, Moore Moyo, David George, July Sharara, Erick Aisam, James Matola, Masimba Dinyero, Albert Mabika and Joey Antipas.
Chiyangwa, who was backed by his vice president Omega Sibanda and technical director Wilson Mutekede, said the meeting was necessitated by the need to tap into the former players’ knowledge and experience and also to recognise them for their legacy on the pitch. “Legends and former players are crucial in the development of the game and FIFA continues to emphasise that we include them in our development programmes. I am very elated that we have such a vibrant group of former players.
“The Association, under my leadership, will continue to engage these important people and ensure that they participate and contribute meaningfully to all levels of the beautiful game like in grassroots development, coaching and administration. “We want them to live dignified lives even after retirement,” said Chiyangwa.
Footballers Union of Zimbabwe president Desmond Maringwa, who was part of the ex-footballers’ group, welcomed the gesture by the football mother body to open the door to the footballers. Apart from coaching, ex-footballers have been excluded in most of the football activities in the country. More meetings are scheduled to take place where stronger working relationships are expected to be established.
“I think this is a noble idea which I believe ex-footballers should consider taking up because all along we have seen little in terms of contributions from this important group of people. ZIFA explained their position and how they would want the former players to be involved in the processes to do with football in Zimbabwe. They said they realised there was an anomaly within our football circles. There has to be a working relationship between ZIFA and the ex-players.
“They want to give the former players their role in developing the game and also to assist them in acquiring coaching badges if they need them. The welfare of the former players was cited as a cause for concern and how ZIFA will come up with strategies to give a helping hand in appreciation of their contributions to football. I think this meeting made a lot of sense. But there is need for some follow up meetings and enough representation from the players side because this meeting came to us on short notice.
“They also intend to go to other regions and parts of the country top see how they can incorporate the former footballers. It looks like it’s going to be a very long process, but the good thing is that they have come up with the idea,” said Maringwa.
Article Source: The Herald