Reputable local tennis coach Richmore Murape has embarked on a drive to take the game to the rural areas where he has been conducting coaching clinics for free.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
A product of the legendary coach Albert Nhamoyebonde’s Mufakose Tennis Coaching Academy, Murape seeks to carry on the legacy of his mentor, who is famed for bringing tennis into high-density suburbs, in the early 80s.
Nhamoyebonde is credited with nurturing the likes of Claudio Murape (now late), brother to Richmore, Derrick Manyange, Gift Nkomo, Lazarus Manjoro, Tendai Baleng, Peter Nyamande, Nigel Badza, Shepherd Manyumbu and Elson Marondera, to mention but a few.
All these he trained free of charge.
“I have been doing random coaching for rural schools free of charge for quite while a now. I got all the knowledge [about tennis] free of charge and this is my own way of giving back to the community. I was inspired by Nhamoyebonde, who despite living in the low-density suburbs, brought tennis to us in the high-density areas and did not ask for a single cent from us,” Murape told Sports World.
“In this rural project, I just go where I am invited or just pick any school and ask them if they are interested in the lessons I give. It has been an eye-opener for me because I have realised that there is a lot of talent and passion for the sport out there,” he added.
About two weeks ago Murape was joined by US-based Zimbabwe Davis Cup team player, Courtney Lock on some of his coaching tours.
Lock, who is nursing an injury, heard about the Murape initiative and offered to help while he is still in the country.
“It has been an amazing experience going round with Courtney in the past few weeks. He just offered to be part of what I am doing in rural schools as well as schools in Harare urban. He was ready to offer two-hour lessons at every school we went to free of charge and I believe we left a lasting impression in most of the kids we interacted with,” Murape said.
More than 80 kids benefitted in Domboshava where a coaching session was conducted at Molife Junior School by the pair of Murape and Lock.
Apart from the hosts, pupils came from surrounding schools like Sally Mugabe, Mutake and Eagle Eye junior school.
“In Domboshava we conducted a coaching clinic in a football pitch and the enthusiasm showed by all the children, some who had come from far off was phenomenal,” he said.
Another session was held at Rusununguko High School in Goromonzi where Chiweshe, Monte Casino and Goromonzi high schools benefitted.
Lock also gave another session in Chitungwiza attended by schools like Seke12, Seke 6, Shingai, Dudzai, Seke 7, Seke 8, Seke 12, Seke 5, Dungwiza, Mberi, Zengeza 8, Zengeza 7 and Herentals college.
Murape was pleased to announce that one boy and two girls from Molife namely Tadiwanashe Chingadze, Vanessa Kwaramba and Esnath bvenende have been nominated to represent Mashonaland East at a tournament in Mutare.