It takes not only the love of the game but deliberate commitment, passion and tolerance for one to deal with aspiring sportsmen and mould them into young footballers, but for Peter Mapendere, it seems all natural.
Born at Morgenster Mission Hospital, Mapendere, who used to play for the Black Rhinos Jnr Club, grew up in Mapendere village and attended Nemazuwa Primary School.
He recently told TellZim News that he has dedicated his life towards making young aspiring footballers dreams a success.
Although he might not have been a household name back home as a player, Mapendere is now one big name in the technical side of sports in Canada.
Going through his CV yields an impressive highlight of the 45-year-old who boasts the UEFA A coaching badge and the Canadian B-Licence, and many youngsters with a promising future passed through his capable hands.
Currently, Mapendere is assistant technical director at Ottawa Gloucester Hornets, a very challenging job as it involves not only inculcating technical skills among youngsters but philosophy and ideology too.
At Ottawa Gloucester Hornets, he supervises the Under 13-18 age group development, a system he says should be replicated here at home if football is to reach its full potential.
Speaking from his Canadian base, Mapendere bemoaned the lack of serious football development initiatives with regards to talent identification and nurturing.
need to have national team set-up from under 13 upwards if we are not to be
late with skills development. This can also be done at a district level all the
way to provincial level; same
The mentor also revealed his plans to develop raw talent back home and specifically in marginalized communities where he believes vast raw talent remains dormant.
“My vision is to create zone structures for the youth by which we can develop. We should also not forget that education is important so pursuing academics and sports can be done simultaneously. We could get talent from such communities and market it in lucrative places all over the world,” he said.
As with any other stories of remarkable success, Mapendere’s journey has not been without its own challenges.
When he was called for trials for the national U20 team, he did not impress well enough to make it to the final squad and his dream to be a top-flyer in football was cut short by a knee injury.
On his career as a youngster, Mapendere recalls how he used to walk long distances to play football and believes it takes dedication and positive character to achieve one’s dream.
“My greatest motivation growing up was my older brother Patrick Mapendere who was a great player. Back then, he was playing for Division 2 outfit Hawks which was based at Great Zimbabwe. I used to walk from my village to Nemanwa Growth Point where the team would play home games,” said Mapendere.
With over 15 years of professional coaching experience, he has coached in Europe including Ireland, believes the local football mother body, Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and clubs have to improve their approach towards developing the world’s most beautiful game.
“As for the mother body, there is room for improvement. We ought to have the right people to create the correct structure and for me it has to start with coaches’ education. The mother body has to provide a platform which can help former coaches to get badges.
There is need for a system by which all premier league teams are required to have junior structures. It would be very helpful if you also have one or two current players on the board to help with the experience,” Mapendere said.
Before the nationwide lockdown, Zifa had announced plans to revive junior leagues in all the country’s provinces although the viability of such a move is questionable considering the little resources available.