PRINCE Edward School last week announced a partnership with a South Africa-based businessman which will see the school become the home of Academy 2063 — a new football academy whose aim is to nurture the next generation of football stars.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The partnership will allow boys enrolled in the academy exposure to high performance coaching, tactical awareness, mental and psychological preparation and competition based on global football development standards.
Academy 2063 president Regis Dzenga, the former Zifa board member said the focus of the academy was on strength in depth, not developing just a few star players.
“Our goal is to work with the ‘best-of-the-best’ players on a weekly basis throughout the year and have guest professional coaches come across from Europe and South America to develop, evaluate and potentially place players in the professional leagues in Europe, America, Africa or Asia. We will also build new world-class infrastructure to augment the facilities at PE,” he said.
“However, not all registered athletes will successfully secure professional contracts in soccer. As well-trained student athletes, many will however qualify and be assisted to secure sports scholarships and pursue academic careers in European and American colleges that will partner Academy 2063 in this initiative.”
Dzenga, who is a project infrastructure financing consultant and businessman, ran arguably Zimbabwe’s most successful soccer development programme — the Agatha Sheneti Soccer Academy.
The programme produced a number of players that have represented Zimbabwe at youth and senior national team level and are still plying their trade in the local premiership and internationally.
Because of his expanded vision, Dzenga has brought in other partners who share the “new vision” of developing podium athletes in an academic environment.
One of the key members is Benjani Mwaruwari, the former Warriors captain, who had a glittering professional career with top clubs in South Africa, Switzerland, France and England.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to interact with the future stars of Zimbabwean soccer under the auspices of one of our great public education institutions,” said Mwaruwari.
“We often have players contact us in search of development opportunities and regular top tier coaching. We now have a structured and organised system we can put them in to elevate their play to global standards.”
Mwaruwari is expected to play a key technical role in the talent identification, coaching structures and establishing an international network of partnerships with professional clubs in Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States.
Prince Edward School headmaster Agrippa Sora said: “We have a long tradition of developing formidable Zimbabwean students into excellent adults regardless of that student’s chosen path. We have been recruiting talented players from across the country and provided them with necessary preparation for a professional career in football, rugby and other sporting disciplines.
“However, we have always felt the need to partner with specialists that have proven records in the development of young talent to levels of international excellence, hence the partnership with Academy 2063.”
The academy’s chairman is Blessing Rugara, a former Prince Edward basketball school captain.
Rugara, who co-founded Circle Capital Global — a successful investment firm, based in South Africa — insists that through organisations, resources and professionalism, the academy will create world class athletes.
“We have many talented youths in Zimbabwe [and in Africa] who deserve an opportunity to express themselves in their chosen sport against global standards. We will intensify Prince Edward’s long term commitment to helping develop young people from all over Africa into globally significant leaders,” he said.
Academy 2063 has appointed provincial coaches who will work closely with participating schools in their province as talent scouts, coordinating the talent identification effort at provincial level.
The programme will ensure that children selected from the nationwide talent identification programme can be transferred and provided full boarding and tuition at Selborne Routledge and Prince Edward.
Schools now have the opportunity to benefit from their contribution in the identification and grooming of talent before their enrolment into Academy 2063 at Prince Edward.
A well-laid out commercial structure has been put in place that will see Prince Edward, Selborne Primary School and any schools transferring their talent to the academy benefiting from their investment in the development of the players.