August 7th, 2012: Coaches Across Continents wrapped up a 9-day stay in Manhenga, a village an hour and a half outside of Zimbabwe’s capital city. Partnered with the Bulldogs Sports Development Trust, CAC was able to present 96 local coaches and teachers with certificates of completion on the program’s final day at Wayerera Secondary School. It was an exciting day for everyone in attendance, made even more memorable by the arrival of a representative from the governor’s office. Clips from the closing ceremony (including an exclusive interview with Brian!) made it to the Zimbabwe National evening news, which was the first time that the national news had ever visited the area. We were also the first foreigners to stay in the village and we were as honored to be there as they were to host us!
This trip was CAC’s first time working with the Bulldogs Sports Development Trust, an organization based in Harare that promotes a variety of sports, including soccer, basketball, netball, (field) hockey, and swimming in ten different rural villages. Bulldogs has recently made it a priority to increase the number of female coaches in their program and CAC was thrilled with the opportunity to work with so many women. It was great to see how the female coaches, ranging from 16 to over 60 years old, grew in confidence over the course of the 6-day program, becoming more vocal with each passing day. Emmy and Melanie particularly enjoyed being part of a discussion about whether or not the women should wear athletic shorts while coaching!
One of the highlights of this program was the festival of traditional games that took place on the Saturday before we left. Beginning around noon we were introduced to a number of traditional children’s games, which reminded us of a mix of jacks, cricket, dodge ball, and pickle. The day ended with a big dance competition hosted by a DJ who handed out prizes to the winners from each age group. Watching their moves confirmed that we should all stick with coaching soccer!
The coaches we worked with over the course of the week were a lot of fun to get to know and extremely receptive to our curriculum. They demonstrated their interest in learning about how sport can aid in the social development of their communities, asking lots of questions about our games and the way we teach them. Both CAC and Bulldogs are excited about this new partnership and look forward to CAC’s return to Manhenga next year!