Bruce Chikuni in JOHANNESBURG, South Africa
FORMER Zimbabwe international, Edelbert Dinha, has defended his decision to launch a football academy in South Africa.
The former CAPS United star said he was inspired to make the choice after realising the need to instil the identity of Zimbabwean football in children who are based here.
His Shumba Football Development project is celebrating its 11th anniversary.
It is an affiliate of Gauteng Development League which also has Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Memelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United developmental sides.
The team also have an Under-19 side, which competes in the country’s third division.
He justified his choice to establish this academy in South Africa.
“We have many Zimbabweans, who are currently living in South Africa, and the reality is most of them are now permanent residents here.
“One thing, which we cannot afford to ignore is they have kids who want to play football and, as someone who has seen a lot in this field, I was inspired to help such children.
“As Zimbabweans, we have our identity, we are known for fighting relentlessly on the field.
“And, I took the responsibility to instil that mentality because every player who gets picked for the Warriors should possess the same character.”
The former Orlando Pirates defender also revealed his plans to broaden his nets to Zimbabwe. He also hailed a funeral company based in South Africa, Zororo Phumulani, for being his shield whenever his academy needs a helping hand.
“I’m now almost where I have always wanted to be, because it just cheers me up seeing our recruits playing in the top-flight league.
“It a sign that we are being appreciated and we have plans to open another academy in Zimbabwe just to widen our nets in talent nurturing.
“I’m also grateful to Zororo Phumulani who are helping us to achieve our objectives because they are always supporting this academy in many ways,” he said