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Academy unplucking future stars

Having produced top-notch players like Knowledge Musona, Lincoln Zvasiya and Khama Billiat among others, Aces Youth Academy has become a yardstick for football academies that are sprouting around the country.

BY our staff

Two years and 10 months after opening their doors to the public, Total Football Academy, with the assistance of other football academies dotted around the country, hopes to help the nation solve all national team age groups headaches by developing football right from grassroots levels.

Founded in Harare on August 24 2011 by a group of six close friends with a strong vision and passion for soccer, the Warren Park-based academy which started with less than 15 junior football players, has flourished to accommodate close to 100 players of four different age groups.

Speaking to Standardsport, one of the six founders, Edwin Manyeruke, who is both the vice- chairman and secretary general, said the main reason why they decided to come up with this project was to assist in the development of football’s future stars.

“We saw an opportunity to play a part in the development of junior football in Zimbabwe and in the process sensitising the community and the youths on the fight against the HIV and Aids pandemic and drug abuse,” Manyeruke said.

He added; “ We aspire to achieve the highest standards in the development of our players on and off the field through total professionalism, commitment, discipline, teamwork, respect, courage and diligence. We endeavour to ensure that every player achieves his maximum potential on and off the field by providing professional training, career guidance and welfare assistance.”

The academy has an Under-11 category boasting of eight players, 20 Under-13s, 20 Under-15s, 15 Under-17s as well as a Division Three football team which has been doing well of late and is gunning for promotion into Division Two.

Since their inception, the academy has not managed to send any of their players overseas on scholarship programmes but has just made a breakthrough recently with two of their players set to go to the United States in January next year.

“We have two of our players who will be going to the US’s Puma Academy in January. This will be the first of its kind at our academy. But we have been doing well in as far as local partnerships are concerned. We have three of our players that will be heading to Churchill Boys High and another gentleman’s agreement was made between us and Guinea Fowl High School in Gweru where we have four players attached. Remember Guinea Fowl has a partnership with Premiership side FC Platinum and this actually enhances chances of our players being scouted,” Manyeruke said.

The academy has a board of directors which consists of two non-executive members, Weston Mawodzeka and Simbarashe Muponde, who are the chairman and vice-chairman respectively and three executive members, Tatenda Madzingo, Manyeruke and Patrick Mubako.

The executive committee that runs the affairs of the academy constitutes of the following: chairman (treasurer) — Madzingo, vice-chairman (secretary general) — Manyeruke, Secretary (admin manager) — Samuel Mazowe, committee member (technical director) — Mubako and committee member (head coach) — Keith Mandishona.

Former Warriors striker Gilbert Mushangazhike is the technical advisor.

The academy has two patrons, Jefta Madzingo, a prominent entrepreneur-based in the UK and poet Albert Nyathi, who are part-time advisors to the executive.

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