By Petros Kausiyo
There might be no Zimbabwean plying his trade at English Premiership side Everton but the country certainly has some representation there with a local coach currently working in the Merseyside club’s junior structures.
Peter Mapendere might not have been a household name as a player but he has quietly been working hard as one of the coaches at the Everton Academy’s Kuwait base. Mapendere recently returned home where he donated training equipment to different centres in Masvingo and Harare.
The former Black Rhinos youth player and Zimbabwe Under-20 trialist revealed that he has a passion for developing youth football and never forgets his roots and humble beginnings in Zimbabwe and this has driven him into giving a helping hand in grassroots football development in schools, several clubs and youth academies.
Mapendere also said apart from coaching the players on the football technique, his work entails educating the youth on life skills.
“My philosophy is not only about developing world-class footballers, but to use football’s power to educate and transform youth players.
“To instil in athletes skills and values they can use for the rest of their lives outside the playing field and to learn about teamwork, fair play, leadership and overcoming challenges.
“When I am not putting the youngsters through their paces, I will be busy trying to forge links with other European clubs.
“Recently, three Elite Academy coaches from Scottish giants, Glasgow Celtic FC visited the Kuwait-based Everton Academy where they had a five-day coaching clinic and workshops. We also exchanged coaching methods and best practices,’’ Mapendere said.
On his recent visit to Zimbabwe, Mapendere delivered over a hundred footballs, training tops and equipment and in addition to donating the football equipment, he provided coaching sessions and coaching education resources to support football development in the country.
“The centre helps empower Zimbabwean youths by encouraging them to participate in soccer. This was the second batch of Everton’s contribution to the Zimbabwean community since 2012, additional equipment and more footballs are expected to be delivered in the next few months.
“Over the past two years, I have made several trips to Zimbabwe to donate football equipment, provide coach educational support and conducted several coaching sessions in my quest for football development in the country’’.
Mapendere said he is one of the senior coaches at the Everton Premier Academy Centre of Excellency in Kuwait, where he is the head coach for the centre of excellence youth coaching program.
Since the Everton Premier Academy in Kuwait is affiliated to the top English Premier League side, the young players in the Middle East country follow the methods used by the Toffees, which were developed by the club’s coaches.
The programme has over the years enabled dozens of young players to progress into the Everton first team with the academy having nurtured the talents of such players like England international and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell and several other players.
According to Mapendere, selected players at the Everton Premier Academy in Kuwait are invited to train at the Everton Academy in England.
“Over 80 players from Kuwait have visited Everton FC academy. Following the success of the joint coaching camps with Glasgow Celtic FC, I was invited to attend the international coaches’ convention hosted by the Glasgow Celtic FC in Scotland.
“The visit was very informative and educational, especially the interaction with the Celtic Academy coaches and the post-match analysis and interviews with current first team manager Neil Lennon.
“In addition to attending practise sessions and seminars at the Scottish giants’ training facilities in Glasgow, I had a topical discussion around the development of Zimbabwe-based players and the massive untapped raw talent that the African nations are now producing on a regular basis,’’ Mapendere said.
Before moving to Kuwait, Mapendere had also had junior football coaching stints in Canada and Thailand.
Mapendere said he is currently trying to use his links with some of Europe, North America and Middle East’s top clubs to try and facilitate the entry of Zimbabwean footballers into their leagues.
With very few academies having managed to stay afloat, the noble gesture by Mapendere to source for equipment for young footballers in the country and his pledge to continue with the programme could open up avenues for some under-privileged children. The Herald