By Jotham E. Gutsa
The worldâ€™s most celebrated and famous football player of all time, Pele also known as â€œthe Black Pearlâ€ once said, â€Football is the worlds most beautiful game.”
With a career total of 1280 goals, he may have been the worldâ€™s most popular athlete after he was named Athlete of the Century by the worldâ€™s combined National Olympic Committees in 1999, though he never played in the Olympics himself.
He scored a dozen of those goals in three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970) against some the greatest players who have ever walked on a soccer field.
Pele showed a combination of skill, strength and agility that no player before him possessed.
He was head and shoulders above his opponents, and he never backed down from a challenge. He showed millions of people across the world that soccer is a beautiful game and encouraged millions of young kids to play soccer.
Football is beautiful when colourful fans come in their thousands, when players show off their skills, when beautiful goals are scored, when balls boys are dressed like the football players, when these ball boys run around picking up the loose balls and throwing them into the pitch.
My issue here is simple â€“ Ball boys are essential in this beautiful game – clad in their kits to make the whole game faster and entertaining.
Zimbabweâ€™s football administration is in a sorry state. It all starts with home teams in our local football league that fail to acquire young kids who pick up balls in a football match.
Recently, Douglas Warriors engaged DeMbare in a mid-week encounter at Rufaro Stadium and poor Douglas Warriors did not acquire ball boys for the match, except asking little boys from the terraces to do the duty.
It was a sorry sight when one of the boys urinated at Douglas Warriors’ goal line and for a league that produces talented players to be involved in such a mess calls for concern.
It is simple to get these young boys and train them to pick up balls and train them on how to throw the ball back into play.
What worries me is that these boys do not usually want to get paid, butÂ providing refreshments, football kits and transport back to their homes is good enough to lure them into stadiums.
Come to think of it, who does not want his son or daughter to walk in a football pitch holding hands with the likes of Ashley Rambanepasi, Allen Gahadzikwa and Bekhimpilo Ncube?
It is notÂ onlyÂ Douglas Warriors who messed up on this issue, but several clubs in the league are failing to lure ball boys to their matches.
Thumbs up to Caps United who have maintained a 100% record on bringing in colourful young boys to their matches.
It brings efficiency and flow to the beautiful game of football if local clubs learn from other countries on bringing in young boys to their matches.
Come on Zimbabwe, some of these issues are just that simple. Let us be serious and make this gameÂ THE MOST BEAUTIFUL.