BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWEAN sports tourism and entertainment marketing firm Play By Play Inc have set their sights on the domestic football market as they ramps up their efforts to make a difference on the local sporting industry.
The vibrant agency which specialises in brand management currently manages top Zimbabwean athletes in rugby and cricket such as Sables captain Hilton Mudariki and Chevrons all-rounders Sikandar Raza and Ryan Burl.
Now Play by Play Inc have set their sights on local football after announcing a new partnership they hope will create a pathway for local players to international clubs.
“As Zimbabwe we have the world’s attention, and our intention should be to keep it on us. Our talent has always been recognised regionally, but as Play By Play we wish to break more barriers and have more Zimbabweans in the top tier leagues across the world. Currently we have Marvelous Nakamba and Tino Kadewere in top tier leagues in Europe, but our drive would be to have more Zimbabwean players in top tier leagues across the globe,” the company’s founder Willard Munyaradzi Kachere told The Sports Hub in an interview.
In a bid to expand their network in football Play by Play have already sealed a partnership with respected football performance analyst Kudzai Chitima, who was part of the Warriors technical team at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon.
Chitima is also a qualified talent scout and sports administrator.
“We have been working on creating a scouting network for various sporting disciplines, starting with soccer. We have the Warriors’ performance analyst and talent scout, Kudzai Chitima partnering with us, in our drive to identify and nurture young talent across the country.
In addition to catering for the needs of their sports clients in rugby and cricket, Play By Play are also owners of top Harare Hockey League team PlayByPlay Hounds and the National Premier League (NPL) side Harare Kings.
Kachere appealed for local corporates to come on board and partner them in their efforts to develop and unlock the potential in the local sporting sector.
Play By Play are currently self-funded but have not been spared by the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative financial implications on the sporting industry.
“Everything that we have done so far is fully funded by us out of our own pocket and with the pandemic we had to work with what was there. We barely survived but the athletes stayed committed and did what they needed to with their own resources,” he said.
“As a club owner I feel that there is more that the nation can do. There is definitely need for cooperate backing as that could go a long way to keep the athletes motivated and to keep the academies up and running as these organisations are not running on a profit basis.”
He added: “We need to involve a lot more sporting disciplines in the academies for diversity and keep the hopes of the young ones alive but for that to happen we also need cooperate backing to facilitate development especially now as the two year disruption because of the pandemic has partly crippled our sporting system.”
In addition to their current involvement in cricket, hockey and most recently football, Play By Play Inc are also hoping to venture into netball.
“This year we will introduce netball and rugby academies and if all things go well a soccer academy to help redevelop sport. We have seen sport build nations and PlayByPlay is willing to commit to sporting development in our country and expose our athletes. Let us stand as one nation and rebuild sport Play By Play.”