Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
NEWLY-ESTABLISHED Real Betis Zimbabwe Academy have begun recruiting players and are inviting youngsters, who wish to be part of their project to register with them.
The first group will be made up of Under-18 boys, who will be based in Harare, as the academy awaits the resumption of football in the country.
There have been a number of inquiries, from parents around the country, who want their children to become part of the Spanish academy.
The players are expected to begin training, once clearance have been granted, by the relevant authorities.
This age-group will train under the guidance of Murape Murape, who was appointed the head coach of the academy.
A technical director from Spain is expected to come later and head the technical side.
Coaches to run the Bulawayo centre are expected to be named in November.
The Athletes Sphere Management Sports agency president and chief executive of the Zimbabwean academy, Gerald Sibanda, says they were now in phase one of the project.
“We are very happy that we are now making progress as far as recruitment is concerned,’’ said Sibanda.
“We are in what we call phase one of recruitment, where we are simply doing registration for all the players, who have interest in enrolling at the Real Betis Academy.
“What we will look, for now, is the boys’ Under-18, players who are going to launch the programme in Harare in the next coming few weeks, once we are given clearance by ZIFA, SRC and all the health authorities that govern Zimbabwean sport.’’
Although football is yet to get the green-light, the academy have been calling upon all young players, from the age of eight, to begin sending their profiles to the academy.
“So, what is required right now is that we need all the information, the database from the players, so that we can gather enough information to start tailor-making a training programme, basically suited for Zimbabwean players, to allow football to be developed from centre to centre,’’ said Sibanda.
“We are also looking at a situation where, as we are still on phase one, we are saying that every player, who is under the age of 18, must start sending their information via email.
“Then, the recruitment team, and our coaches, will respond to each and every single email, so that we will now be able to tailor-make the programme which will be required for every centre.’’
The former rugby player added that, as part of their plans, they want to hold football camps around the country.
“We are going to Bulawayo in November, once we are given clearance, we will have a three-day football camp in Bulawayo, with our Bulawayo coaches who will be named in the next coming few days,’’ he said.
“We are going to name our Bulawayo technical team, which is going to run our programme in Bulawayo but, around the country, we are going to be having three — day football camps.
“Then, after that, we will gradually establish our centres around the country, that is, probably the beginning of 2021.’’
Sibanda said he is happy that the academy is making some progress.
“We are very excited, we are happy that we are making progress, we are happy that now we are on phase one of registration for our player,’’ he said.