Keut Football Academy was formed 10 years ago with the current events, namely the 2010 World Cup in mind. The idea was to have 6 to 17 year old youth. They were supposed to play with shoes on grass with proper physical and technical developmnet. The 15 to 17 year olds would be about 26 years old today. That is usually the ripest age in footballing terms.
The logo of the Academy had a green soccer field background and fair play ensignia. The book emphasised leaving nothing to chance as all detail was according to the book. It was a school symbol as well. I designed the logo and T. Murefu did the graphics and printed ID cards.
School of Excellence.
The Academy operated from ZITF grounds. It accommodated about 20 children, boys and girls. Barry Daka, Isaac Mbedzi, Nicholas Munyonga, Haverson Masilela (rip), Siphatho Ncube and Enerst Mpala were the other people that came to help with coaching the kids. Many of them were dreaming to have something to look forward to when they were older. Pernell McKop and Shane Khamal brought their childern to the Academy, as well as Juliet Dube-Ndebele. Some players who were part of the school were John Tromp and Ralph Dewu.
The Manager of ZITF, Mr Chigaru was supportive in getting us the best possible deal for grounds use. The Grounds Manager, Mr Paul Pretorious, arguably the best soccer referee of his time, made sure all was in order every time we went there and gave all his support and encouragement.
I went to negotiate for a Thorngrove 2nd Division franchise with Joseph James management team because they were going to play in the 1st Division. Terms were finalised and the team came into existance. Thorngrove had played 3 games with 7 points. The season was way ahead in fixtures. Trials were conducted, but all the best players had been registered by other teams. A lot of coaching went into it and the games came thick and fast to catch up the schedules.
The great KFA trained at Barbourfields Stadium and had Luveve Stadium as home. Mr Phunyuka and Mr Khabo ensured we had our needs catered for, in terms of lights and schedules when bigger teams were using the Stadiums. I will be forever grateful for their genuine love for KFA.
Lack of Sponsorship.
The Academy team and School of Excellence lacked sponsorship. I sacrificed my salary to pay and feed players, and my cars to transport them. A Corolla sedan had to take 8 players at a time to match venues. Blazio Mudekunye volunteered to help with coaching. He sometimes brought food for the players and a pick-up for transport. My wife cooked pap and vleis every Saturday and Sunday and drove the Mini Cooper to gave (the Mini Cooper had no brakes).
The City of Bulawayo Mayor heard of the tremendous impact the team was having in the community. KFA was presented with a new kit and balls at the Mayor’s Parlour in a very moving colourful ceremony. This pushed the players to work harder.
Praying for Loses.
As the season progressed, the team grew in confidence and stature. I was getting poorer and me and my wife hated it. We prayed for loses, arranged for double fixtures a day banking on fatigue. The team would win both games by 6 goal margins. That sank me deeper into poverty. It was a pleasure working with the Mujokoro brothers, Farai and Mabhe.
Some of our best games were against Olivine, the arch-rivals at White City Stadium. We were fighting for supremacy in that epic match that produced goals every 15 minutes to end up 3-3. We had tough times in Ntabazinduna. We lost to Scandia and Qualitex in games we played with contempt because these teans were relegation material. Financially, any loss was good for me, but players felt bad because of the hunger and lost opportunity to play in the 1st Division.
The quality of play is one thing I will never forget. In very hard bumpy surfaces, the mobility and the passing was incredible. The competetiveness of the combats, the greed to play and the wits to do the impossible was out of this world.
There was no money to go further with this team. A very sad anti-climax. Thank God, Farai Mujokoro was snapped by AmaZulu where he played before moving to Highlanders Bosso Tshilamoya.