Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THEMBALETHU Foundation will honour football personalities that made a positive influence in the sport in Bulawayo.
The awards will be held after the foundation’s second edition of the women’s soccer tournament to be held on Saturday at Raylton Sports Club.
Kelvin Marley, a former New Orleans and Highlanders’ juniors’ player and Thembalethu Foundation Trustee, said they had reserved 15 awards.
“The awards are meant to recognise the work or influence that the people we will honour have had in people’s lives through sport. Many at time we celebrate people’s achievements when they are dead, but as a foundation that believes in changing people’s lives through football, we saw it proper to honour and celebrate our sport heroes,” said Marley.
A holder of a football leadership management certificate, the United Kingdom-based Marley said among those to be honoured are Peter Ndlovu, who will get the role model awards, the trio of Ali “Baba” Dube, Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda and Methembe Ndlovu, who will get youth development awards.
Dube is known for mentoring most yesteryear players, while Sibanda had his Mthala Football Club from Mpopoma churning out the likes of national Under-20 coach Bekithemba Ndlovu.
Methembe, through his Bantu Rovers project, has produced lots of players that include Belgium-based Marvelous Nakamba, the South African-based duo of Kuda Mahachi of Golden Arrows and Kaizer Chiefs’ defender Teenage Hadebe.
Revered former Mzilikazi High School headmaster, Cuthbert Chiromo, will be honoured for his role in developing talent at the grassroots level, while ex-Inline Academy director Trust Kwembeya is in line for a women’s soccer development award.
A posthumous award will be given to Haverson Masilela, founder of New Orleans women’s team that produced the likes of former Mighty Warriors players Sithethelelwe Sibanda, Precious “Gringo” Mpala, Nomsa “Boys” Moyo and Fungai Nyamutukwa-Mpfeka.
Marley revealed that this year’s edition of the eight-team women’s soccer tournament had attracted more corporate support.
“We’re grateful to corporates which have decided to stick with us and partner us for our second edition of the Thebalethu Foundation Women’s Soccer Tournament. Last year we had Nokel Security, Baker’s Inn, Swivel Metal Engineering and Elicon Construction partnering us.
“We are grateful to the same institutions which have decided to be with us again this year. We are also pleased to reveal that Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan was impressed by what we’re doing to uplift the girl child through football and has become the latest addition to our corporate support,” Marley said.
Defending champions, New Orleans, Inline Academy, Sobukhazi, Black Boots, ZRP Bulawayo, Ubuntu, Magwegwe Stars and Highlanders Royals will take part in the women’ tournament.
Organisers have also roped in former Mighty Warriors’ players, Bulawayo-based football legends, Baker’s Inn and Sports Journalists’ Association (Spoja) Southern Region teams as curtain raisers to the games.