Ghetto Pirates in the red

Ghetto Pirates, an ambitious youth football club here, is facing hard times. The economic crunch is hindering progress in their bid to implement grassroots soccer developmental programmes.

Lovemore Misho.
Lovemore Misho.

Ghetto Pirates consists of juniors aged under 10, 12, 14 and 16. In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Lovemore ‘Bla Luve’ Misho (44), the director of coaching, appealed to the community, well-wishers and government to come to their rescue.

“We are in a desperate situation and might be forced to abandon implementing this important project at a grassroots level. We have a lot of youngsters who are promising, but their dreams may be shattered,” said the former Rufaro Rovers player.

Misho said he had exhausted his personal funds on the initiative. “I have used my own money to try and keep this project afloat since I started it many years ago. I am no longer that financially strong myself, but I am just concerned as I want to see these gifted future footballers realize their dream of becoming what I was in my heydays.

“My biggest appeal to the corporate world is: here are talented young footballers who want to live their lives off the streets and away from crime, so come forward and help us make their dreams come true. They are your children; make them look back and feel proud of you one day,” he said.

Misho holds a Level Three coaching certificate. He was forced to hang up his boots through injury in 1997. Through his Ghetto Pirates initiative he has produced great players who went on to ply their trade in the Premier League. These include Sageby Sandaka, Tinarwo brothers Kudakwashe and Irvine, Simon Choenda and Ranga Mubata.

Last year, Misho exposed his juniors to more professional soccer as he registered the club in the ZIFA third division. “In playing in division three we wanted our under 18 players to taste the really competitive soccer. Fortunately, we were promoted to the second division this year as we played very well. Those promoted stars are now under the tutelage of Tonderai Drawu. We are a Chizhanje/Mabvku/Tafara community club. We also need sponsors for this our team in the second division as we have to do our weekly match administrations like referees allowances, police allowances for security, transport for our away games, soccer kits, training equipment like balls, cones and also medical kit,” he said.

Their aim is to have a PSL team in 2017. “When we started our main goal was to get promoted to first division at the end of 2014 season. In 2015-16, we want to gain experience in first division then make a big break through to PSL in 2017. With the support of well-wishers and community members we will live our dream,” said a determined Misho.

During his playing days, Misho rubbed shoulders with great players like Joe Cooker, Ngano Rose, Stanley Mashezha, Enock Chimukango, Andrew Kamanga, Freddy Maruta, Callisto Pasuwa Butler Masango, Shingirai Aron, George Mandizvidza, Gilbert, Kasukuwere, Diva Malunga, Tonderai Mutambikwa and Jonathan Tatsanangurwa.

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