What started as pastime kids play football at Zengeza Two playground way back in 2006 has now developed into an organized and registered football academy that is ready to churn out natured talent to the local leagues as well as leagues beyond our borders. This is a touching and humbling story of Chitungwiza’s Zengeza Busters Football Academy wholly owned by veteran photojournalist Knowledge Chingwecha, a former footballer himself during his school going time.
Having played football at school, Chingwecha, a defender during his playing days, could not have a chance to play at the highest level in the country due to other work commitments which saw him landing at some of the country’s top media houses where he served as a photo journalist for some time. Chingwecha worked for Newsday and The Standard before joining the Gemazo Magazine and subsequently one of the country’s top advertising agencies where he is now based.
While at Gemazo, Chingwecha was influential in sponsoring soccer equipment to top different football academies in the capital and areas surrounding before the mind of coming up with his own football academy occupied his mind. When the idea finally came into his mind, this saw the birth of Zengeza Busters Football Academy, which started with only a handful of players from different age groups. As we speak, the academy, which is under the tutelage of former footballer Joseph Tembo has a number of age groups which range from Under 9, 11, 13, 15, and 18.
In an Interview with this publication, Chingwecha expressed satisfaction in the manner that the academy has grown from strength to strength. “I have seen this project grow from as little as five players and now we have more than 60 players in our books. “The main objective of the football academy which is based at Anglican Church in Zengeza Two is to identify and develop talented children right from the age of six years up to 18 years,” said Chingwecha.
There is nothing special that other academies like the Galaxy academy as well as Aces academy that have churned out top players like Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and other big names have done that we cannot do. All that we need to do is to be focused and know what we want to achieve as a group. If we do that, the we will prosper as an academy.”
Chingwecha added that they have been playing a number of social league and junior league games to try and expose their players to potential suitors. “We do a lot of travelling playing games almost each and every weekend the simple reason being that we want potential clubs and suitors to identify our players. We have a number of players that we feel are now at their pick and are ready to play even in the country’s top flight league.
We will not stop until we achieve our goals as an academy,” Chingwecha added. Some of the teams that are always available to give them challenge include Aces Academy, CAPS United Juniors, Legends Academy among others. The move has also impacted positively on the lives of, any youths that have taken the hid to join the academy.
“It is very clear that we have taken a number of youths from the street and gave them something to do during the day. This will occupy them in most cases taking them away from the usual drug abuse that we usually witness from youths who are always doing nothing.”
The move will also help in molding the mental and social wellbeing of the kids. “Again, as I speak, we were at Chitungwiza Hospital last week where we donated food hampers to the sick, a clear indication that most of the kids were indeed in good hands. However, Chingwecha hubours hopes that next season, the academy will sell a number of players be it locally or abroad.
“We need to start churning out players to big teams be it locally or abroad so that we keep funding the project. I know and I believe very soon, we will fulfill our dream as an academy, to be a conduit for players in Chitungwiza and other surrounding areas,” he said.