Council centres must be revitalised: Homela

Gibson “Homeboy “Homela has called for the resuscitation of community youths centres in the high density suburbs. The Zimbabwe Saints president and former warriors coach said community youth centres in the past have bred excellent players, some of whom have made it into the national team.

Bulawayo Community Youth Centres in Tshabalala.
Bulawayo Community Youth Centres in Tshabalala.

“During our days we used to fully utilise these youth centres especially during weekend and school holidays. Most the players who excelled during our hey-days were groomed at these council centres which are currently being neglected,” said Homela in an interview with The Zimbabwean.

Homela, who is an instructor to Federation of International Football Association and Confederation of African Football coaches, said youth centres such as Mpopoma, Inyathi and Luvuve in Bulawayo had produced legendary soccer players such as the late former Zimbabwe Saints players Aleck Mwanza and William Sibanda. He said the youth centres also played a very important role in the development of juniors.

“The reason why our soccer will remain in the doldrums is because we do not have a coherent junior policy in the country. Our junior soccer policy should start from the age of eight .The current scenario where coaches start to teach players soccer techniques at 18 years is unhealthy for our football,” said Homela.

“Currently Zimbabwe does not have the quality of players which can take the country to any continental and international tournament . At times, I laugh when our coaches apply for national coach’s post. It takes a fool to apply for that job because anyone who gets that job will be fired for poor performance,” he said.

Homela started playing for Zimbabwe Saints, then Mashonaland United in 1964 while he was still a student at Fletcher High school in Gweru.

At Mashonaland united Homela played with the likes of Max Tshuma, Andrew Kadengu, Sugar Muguyo and George Aiyibu. The team won the Chibuku trophy in 1974. He hung up his boots in 1982 and went to Germany where he obtained a diploma in coaching. After returning, he briefly coached Zimbabwe Saints before he coached the national squad.

One of Homela’s famous or infamous assignments with the Warriors was when Zimbabwe was bundled out of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier by DRC Congo. Goal keeper John Sibanda made a schoolboy blunder in the 88th minute which saw the Congolese equalising. Zimbabwe was leading 2-1 and needed to win in order to qualify.

“I was really offended by the blame heaped on Sibanda for that goal. Up to now people do not know what happened on that day. Peter Fanuel was supposed to be in goals – but when we were in the dressing room, he said he had developed a running tummy and I had to settle for Sibanda. Under such circumstances, I still believe he did exceptionally well on that day,” he said.

Homela rejoined Zimbabwe Saints in 1988 and assembled the motivated Chikwata which played purposeful soccer, overrunning their opponents in then super league with refined displays of dazzling carpet soccer.

The club, which had players like Ephraim Chawanda, Agent Sawu and Henry McKop, won the Castle cup in that year. Homela’s vision is to revive Zimbabwe Saints, currently in 6th position in division one, back to its glorious days.

“We have virtually built the team from youngsters from division four and three. We are not in a hurry in returning to premier league next year. We want to groom these youngsters so that when we return in the 2014 our impact will be felt,” he said.

Post published in: Football

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