Zimbabwean Waiter Uses His Tips To Run A Free Soccer Academy That Helps Kids Get Off The Street

October 15, 2018

A 24-year-old Zimbabwean has started a soccer academy in hopes to get children off the streets and nurture them to be professionals football players.

man starts soccer academy in Zimbabwe waiter tips
Photo: Tariro Washinyira / Ground Up

Cavin Muodzi says his mother didn't support his football dreams. She wanted him to pursue an academic career. But that didn't stop him from dreaming. Now he would like to live his dream by helping children in a similar situation.

"Their parents are forcing them to major in academics when they are talented football players, who may end up playing for professional teams. One of the children is already nominated to represent the Good Hope League," Muodzi told Ground Up.

Muodzi funds the academy with his wages, which is mostly tips, from a waitering job at a restaurant in Kalk Bay. Harvest Church, of which he is a member, also assisted, as have some schools. The academy uses the school sports fields and equipment for free.

 

The academy has 43 youths in three age groups: Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16.

"When we started, we had nothing and we were about eight children. There are also many children who still want to join but there is no space. We trained at an abandoned, dangerous field, terrorised by gangsters in Seawinds," said 15-year-old Aluta Sidinana, one of the first to joint the academy.

"I didn't know the purpose of my life until I came to this academy. It helped me know that this is the thing I would like to achieve in life. My goal is to become the best football player in the world. My dream team is Real Madrid."

Last week, parents attended the academy's award ceremony.

"My parents are happy that I am off the streets and being a good example to my young brother. I now come home early, do my homework on time, don't smoke and am obedient to my parents," said 15-year-old Yibanathi Joji.

Muodzi is happy with the progress he's made but he still wants to do more. The academy is short on basic equipment, including a limited amount of soccer balls and uniforms.

"We also want to work with other communities in the Western Cape and at national level mentoring, coaching and scouting for children. We also want to visit disadvantaged children and orphans who never had an opportunity to play soccer," Muodzi said.

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