Zimbabwe: Football Academies Welcome Return to Action

Sports Reporter

FOOTBALL academies have welcomed the decision by the Sports Commission to allow them to start operations, after more than a year of inactivity.

ZIFA technical director, Wilson Mutekede, told The Herald yesterday their application, for a waiver for the academies, as part of efforts to bring back the game in a gradual manner, had been approved.

"It is true that academies have been cleared to resume training, by the Sports and Recreation Commission," he said.

"We have been told to follow the World Health Organisation protocols meant to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

"As the football leadership, we will do our best to ensure the protocols are observed.

"We are going to officially communicate to the academies so that they can resume training."

SRC spokesperson, Elta Nengomasha, also confirmed they had cleared registered academies, to resume training, under strict Covid-19 regulations.

Bekhimpilo Nyoni, of BN Academy, said they have advised their players to start regrouping.

"We resumed training, from Wednesday this week, since ZIFA cleared us to train, as from Tuesday onwards."

Real Betis Soccer Academy Zimbabwe director, Gerald Sibanda, said the greenlight came at the right time, as they were sitting on an invitation to tour Spain, with their Under-19 boys' team.

"We have been allowed to train and, as Real Betis, we are going to resume training on the 21st of June, beginning with the Under-14s and Under-19 boys and girls.

"Later, we will go to the outlying arrears of Harare, on a talent-scouting spree.

"This is a good gesture since it is giving our players the opportunity, to train for our Under-19 boys' tour of Spain, which we want to do either late August or early September, when the Spanish La Liga will be on course," said Sibanda.

Samson Kabwe, of Manicaland Juniors of Excellence Academy, said they were excited by the developments.

"I heard about it today in the morning that we had been cleared to start training and we are wasting no time.

"We are following the Covid-19 guidelines.

"However, our players are not yet vaccinated but, if there happens to be any signs of infection in the players, our team doctors will quickly chip in, with guidance, since we always have them at our training grounds."

Dzivaresekwa-based City Football Academy director, Agrippa Guti, said they were yet to get official notification from ZIFA.

"So far, we have not received anything from ZIFA, we are still waiting for them to give us the official communication so that we forge ahead with training," he said.

"Players are still at home.

"We are doing online lectures with them while they are in the comfort of their homes.

"We have since talked to the parents of the players, to initiate the vaccination programme on their own, at their respective place of residence."

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