LEGENDARY Warriors goalkeeper Japhet Mparutsa has embarked on a sport promotion programme by empowering marginalised but talented sportspersons from communities around the country.
BY TAKEMORE MAZURUSE
The programme is part of the JM Short Cat Foundation set up by the United Kingdom-based former football star last year as a way of giving back to Zimbabwean sport.
The JM Short Cat Foundation seeks to identify and develop sporting talent and empower schools to advance children’s development.
The celebrated goalkeeper, who recently published an autobiography titled, My Story, in which he chronicles his life journey, has already made generous donations to marginalised schools and sports academies to help provide a pathway for promising athletes to the elite level.
Mparutsa told The Sports Hub in an interview that he would continue exploring ways to enhance sport in Zimbabwe.
“The foundation was officially launched on the 9th of December in 2017 after we completed the registration in June of the same year.
“Our vision is to assist and empower individuals, schools and communities with sporting-related resources to help them work towards their dreams,” Mparutsa said.
JM Short Cat Foundation trustee and management committee chairperson Clifford Mparutsa said the foundation had already assisted a number of local schools and their goal was to reach as many communities as possible around Zimbabwe by year end.
“Our beneficiaries to date include the Highfield Area Zone and Arcadia Vision 2020, which received 10 footballs each.
“Rukudzo Primary School and Wadzanayi Primary School received five footballs each while Vengere Sports Club in Rusape received eight footballs and a football kit plus three tracksuits and three T-shirts for their technical team. “We, however, hope to reach as many communities as possible by the end of 2018,” he said.
Robert Magorosa of Vengere Sports Club, a recent beneficiary of the foundation’s efforts, paid tribute to the JM Short Cat Foundation.
“We want to thank the Japhet Mparutsa Shortcat Foundation for the good work they are doing as evidenced by their recent donation to us.
“Such support makes our work easier and we believe the next Confederation of African Football player of the year will come from us. We encourage all those talented kids in Makoni district to come and join us so that we shape their talent,” Magorosa said
Efforts are already underway to provide kits, equipment and mentoring to Zaka district.
“We are leaving no stone unturned in our quest to empower communities and our next port of call is Zaka district in Masvingo. Our plan is that beyond kits and football donations, we will also assist in sporting infrastructure development in our schools,” the foundation’s logistics and liaison manager, Joseph Munyebvu, said.
Mparutsa, who is widely recognised as one of Zimbabwe’s greatest ever goalkeepers, played for Dynamos, Black Rhinos, Darryn T and Bloemfontein Celtics in South Africa as well as the Warriors in a career spanning over 17 years.
The man, who was affectionately known as “Shortcat” due to his small stature, became the first goalkeeper to win the prestigious Soccer Star of the Year in 1982 at the tender age of 19.
The coveted gong award would be the first of many accolades during Mparutsa’s distinguished career in which he won almost every piece of silverware in Zimbabwean football as well as the regional East and Central Africa Challenge Trophy with the Warriors in 1985.