One of Zimbabwe’s leading network provider NetOne in partnership with army side Black Rhinos, one of the four Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams they bankroll, on Wednesday took the anti-drug awareness campaign to Churchill High School.
Leading the visiting team of former students at Churchill was youthful Black Rhinos head coach Herbert Maruwa, players Bruce Homora, Leeroy Murape and Wisdom Mutasa among others.
The first edition of the initiative took place two weeks ago in Gweru where yet another army side, Chapungu FC players visited their former schools dotted around the Midlands capital.
The second initiative was in Bulawayo were Bosso players visited Mzilikazi High School.
The move is aimed at reaching out to youngsters in schools to take up sport and keep away from drugs and other illegal substances.
The programme is designed in such a way that players from the four teams, who are in most cases role models to most upcoming school-going children, visit schools at stipulated times, giving motivational speeches and the stories behind their success in becoming professional footballers, especially schools where the players would have gone to during their secondary education.
The youthful coach spoke to students about the advantages of a healthy life and how he is proud to be a product of the famous educational institute.
“Standing here today, I am a product of Churchill High School and am also joined by my players Bruce Homora, Leeroy Murape and Wisdom Mutasa. We are all at Black Rhinos Football Club and are proud to have passed through Churchill Boys High. In order to get to where we are today we have maintained a high level of discipline and respected our bodies by shunning drugs. I call on all of you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as a healthy body gives a healthy mind.” said Herbert Maruwa,
Players took turns to chronicle their journeys to becoming professional football players.
Representing Churchill High School, Chibeza Eduke thanked both parties, NetONe and Black Rhinos for remembering them in these trying times where most youths resort to seeking pleasure in drugs.
“I want to thank NetOne and Black Rhino FC for the visit. I am so happy for what they did. I pray they continue to do this to other schools such that the massage against drug abuse gets to all corners of the country,” said Eduke.
Churchill High School Sports Director Mr Kaunda also weighed in and said NetOne gave some of their students a chance to meet former students who have made it in the country’s sporting arena and a strong message against drug abuse.
“NetOne has given our students an opportunity to meet some of our former stars as well as a strong message against drug abuse. Students are truly motivated by such visits which we hope will continue to happen and may in the long run culminate in sports partnerships,” said Kaunda.
A NetOne representative said this was their bold statement to the world that they are committed to transforming and developing communities not through communication solutions only but even by sport as well.
“We have come here today to make another bold declaration that, NetOne has a mission to transform and develop communities not only through communication solutions, but through sport as well. We have seen it fit to use football as a tool to shape young adults across the country through motivational talks and interactions with our sponsored teams,” said the representative.
Local football players have recently become icons to the youths after what Marvelous Nakamba and Khama Billiat have achieved so far.