Africa’s first coaching safari launch

The scheme is the brainchild of Munyaradzi Maraire, the young Zimbabwean entrepreneur who himself studied in the US on a sporting scholarship. This year, he has hooked Zimbabwean students up with scholarships worth more than US$2 million. The coaching safari is a very exciting programme that has

been set up to entice American coaches to visit Africa, explained Maraire in a recent interview with The Zimbabwean. We are offering them an unprecedented opportunity to sight-see some truly beautiful African sites, including the Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park, and at the same time facilitating coaching sessions with the cream of Zimbabwes sporting youth.

Eight sports are involved: soccer, track and field, basketball, tennis, swimming, water polo, field hockey and golf. A number of top coaches have already signed up, including Barry Gorman, Penn State University (soccer), Beth Alford-Sullivan, Penn State University, (track and field), Jennifer Averill, Wakeforest University (field hockey), and Roger Ellis, Lindenwood University, (golf).

One of the most respected coaches in the nation, as evidenced by her recent selections to the 2004 U.S. Olympic and 2003 U.S. World Championships coaching staffs and her 11 Coach of the Year accolades, Beth Alford-Sullivan is entering her sixth season at the helm of the Nittany Lion Womens Cross Country and Track and Field programs. Named the 2004 Big Ten Indoor Coach of the Year, Sullivan has presented a clear vision of success and plan to develop a nationally recognized program since her arrival in “Happy Valley” in August of 1999.

Barry Gorman, a native of Northern Ireland, is regarded by many experts as one of the foremost soccer educators in the United States. His appointment in January 2002, as President of the largest coaching organization in the world, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), was considered to be just recognition for his service to the game in his adopted country. Gorman, who served as the President of the Pennsylvania High School Soccer Coaches Association from 1980-84, was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1999.

Worldwide Scholarships aims to link African talent with the vast opportunities available overseas, said Maraire. Many top notch performers in the classroom and on the sports field have been unable to develop their full potential. We not only educate prospective students about the opportunities available, we also build a platform where university recruiters, both academic and sporting, can see talent from developing nations.

The coaching sessions will take place from 9am to 4pm daily, December 12 through 16 at Prince Edward School and the University of Zimbabwe. Ten athletes from 15 participating schools around Zimbabwe have been carefully selected and sponsored to take part. Some places are still open to others wishing to participate. A fee of Z$1 million will be charged. There are two age groups  juniors (12 years and below) and seniors (13  20 years).

I am very excited about this event and we are planning on making it into a reality series for MTV and US television. Zimbabwe is a place filled with talent that needs to be developed and it is nice to have other athletes come to an event at home – instead of us always going overseas to learn from other nations. We can bring them home too, said Maraire. We have received positive support from the Sports and Recreation Commission.

Zimbabwes best sprinter Brian Dzingai recently joined the team as a WWS mentor for young athletes, after achieving many accolades on the world class scene.

ZOC prepares for 2008

Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News

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