The Catch Them Young Programme together with the Mufakose Youth Development hosted a sports coaching clinic at Gwinyiro and Magandanga Grounds in Mufakose last month.
The coaching programme focuses on teaching hockey, soccer and cricket to under-privileged youth with the aim of getting kids off the streets and focussing their attention away from drugs and other risky practices. Over 290 children aged 5 to 13 years took part in the sporting activities with the help of volunteer coaches and umpires from schools and clubs across Harare.
Harare News spoke to Jeremiah Matibiri, coordinator of Catch Them Young Programme which he founded based on the idea of bringing unconventional sports like cricket to high density areas.
“I started Catch Them Young with cricket at Prince Edward in 2011 but then realised I was bringing cricket to a community that already knew the sport. So instead, I decided to come and give back to my community in Mufakose. We started with soccer coaching in 2014 and this year we’ve added cricket and hockey. Catch Them Young is a fantastic benefit to kids who do not know much about the sport but are keen to learn. To make it all work, I asked a few people who I have worked with to help out with the coaching.”
Matibiri added that the coaching clinic was made possible by Catch Them Young’s collaboration with the Mufakose Youth Development and the Mufakose Clean-Up Network who helped secure and mobilize a clean-up campaign of the sports grounds. “They are the ones who thought of cleaning up the grounds that had become dumping sites that we are using for the events,” he said.
Former Chapungu United player Thomas Mudzengerere who coached soccer at the event said, “Catch Them Young is a good thing in realising talent and nurturing it.” He added that the children responded very well and showed a willingness to learn.
Harare News spoke to some of the kids who took part in the cricket lessons who said they enjoyed the game while others said they chose the sport because it is a ‘smart’ game that if you were to take it up as a profession, pays well.
The coaching clinic was a success in part because of community commitment. Mufakose Clean up Network leader Agatha Chiseya said, “It took the whole community coming together – including people in the Diaspora who are originally from Mufakose – to raise funds to make the clean up possible.”
John Matibiri who is the chairman of the Mufakose Youth Development (and also Jerry Matibiri’s brother) said Mufakose is a community with some of the highest rates of drug abuse. He stressed the importance of Catch them Young which he described as “One step to take kids off the street and give them a foundation at a young age.”
Image: Mufakose youth enjoy a game of soccer at last month’s coaching clinic.