HomeSportChawira Academy puts Checheche on the map

Chawira Academy puts Checheche on the map

They named the academy Chawira Sports Academy and today the academy has grown from strength to strength to become one of the best player-producing academies in the country.

Notable names that have come through the ranks of the academy are former Chapungu United and Dynamos striker Phillip Marufu and Dynamos defence stalwart Mathew Mahala.

The uniqueness of Chawira Sports Academy stems from its rural setting in the deep end of Checheche, a rural area in Chipinge. It competes well with urban-based academies the likes of Aces Youth Academy which has seen the production of players such as Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona who have become cornerstones of the current Warriors set up.

Silas Chawira and his wife Daisy Bhasera are the brains behind Chawira Sports Academy which started as a talent identification organisation in 1999 but has now grown into an organisation which is creating employment for a number of school leavers in the area.

Apart from being an employment platform for youngsters, the academy has produced big names in our football circles.

According to Chawira, their pioneer students were recruited in 2000 where they invited Air Force of Zimbabwe members from Chegutu who took 13 boys for trials.

The first recruitment included Jimmy Mlambo who is now turning for lower division outfit Coca-Cola in Zvishavane, Mutamba Chamisa (Triangle, goalkeeper), Clifford Makaya (Mkwasine), all in Division One.

The boys were rewarded with employment in the force and played for the Air Force side Brumble, which was in Division Two and got promoted into First Division that same year.

The franchise was later sold to Guni United and most of the players left the club as they were not ready to go back to the unfashionable world of Division Two.

The second intake was in 2001 at Katanga School in Chipinge. The group produced a number of names that include hot-shot Marufu whom many think comes from Gweru.

The group had other players like Freddy Manjoro, Eddie Mlambo, Iden Khumbula and Nomatter Munkuli who have become big names in different Division One leagues in the country.

Their third recruitment in 2003 had players such as Mahala.

Like any other business, the academy faced an economic meltdown forcing them to stop recruiting in 2008. The situation got worse forcing Chawira to join the great track in search for the elusive Rand in South Africa in 2009.

When things started shaping up, Chawira bounced back to re-launch the project with a Chawira football tournament which was won by Takawira Secondary School last year.

According to Chawira, the academy has agreed with Takawira Secondary School that they will bring all their academy students at the school to polish up combinations as they look forward to coming up with a formidable team that will continue channeling out talent into the big league.

“We have discovered that even the junior selection criteria used by national team coaches are not all encompassing, so we are trying to say national team coaches must make use of academies to identify talent for national assignments. Again I appeal to the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart to look at other projects that are being run in rural areas that keep children out of dubious activities and make them function in a proper way.

“I was pleased to learn that there are people like Desmond Ali who take part of their earnings and direct it to football development. We might be older than Ali Sundowns but we have one or two things that we learn from Ali,” he added.

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