A United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean Phil Makekera’s Hartley Football Academy, whose aim is to tap talent from the underprivileged promising footballers in the country, has been re-launched in Harare.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Hartley Academy was initially launched in Chegutu late last year to give an opportunity to young soccer players.
The relatively new football conservatory has a team which is currently plying its trade in the Eastern Division One Football League. They managed to sneak into the country’s second tier league following the failure by some teams in the division to pay the required affiliation fees.
In the past two months, the academy has made some significant headway as it now owns a club house in the capital that currently houses six players.
Professionals look after the club’s players whose age-group begins from Under-6 right up to Under-23.
In an interview with Standardsport last week, Makekera — a former footballer — said by forming the academy his intention was to give underprivileged talented children an opportunity to transform their lives through football.
“We formed the club late last year in Chegutu and my intention is to give young underprivileged talented football players an opportunity to transform their lives through football and at the same time helping their communities. Otherwise they would end up picking up bad habits from the streets,” he said.
“I was a footballer before and I always believe in helping and making a difference in other people’s lives. I saw this is an opportunity for me to give back to the society. I believe we have enormous talent in Zimbabwe but the community is not doing enough to nurture, develop and give that talent an opportunity.”
“I want Hartley Academy to be a hub for nurturing footballers not only for the domestic scene but for every lucrative league in the country. We are very ambitious and we are targeting kids from six to 23 years,” added Makekera.
The academy has managed to secure partnerships with England-based academies, some of which have already donated football equipment.
“We have made provisions to specifically make our players happy in future. We work with a number of organisations in England in order to make sure that we are updated on all changes in the European Football,” he said.
“I have seen former footballers in Zimbabwe dying with nothing to leave for the surviving families which saddened me so I am inspired to make a big difference in my players and I’m in Zimbabwe for two weeks every month.I get weekly reports of all the affairs of the academy.”
“We have the most sophisticated modern equipment and we have recently managed to partner with another English academy so our coaches will constantly go for courses in England. We have a soccer camp that is coming soon in July and September in Harare and it will be graced by two highly qualified coaches from England. We also have a duty roaster on how our players will train,” he said.
The club uses Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza as their home-ground in the second tier league and is coached by youthful gaffer Taku Shariwa.