Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura is planning to establish a cricket academy in Harare. Chigumbura hopes the project, named 'Aspired Cricket Academy', will be up and running by August this year and will target primary school children from schools that do not currently have cricket programmes.
"I have gained so much from playing the game, so I thought I should give back in a big way," Chigumbura told The Independent. "I love cricket so much that even when I stop playing I will still be a big fan so I am contributing in my own way to make sure that the future of the sport in the country is bright.
"We have the Interfin Bank Cricket Academy catering for secondary and high school students and I thought we should have something for the primary schools so that we generate interest at an earlier stage."
Chigumbura is in negotiations to secure land in Borrowdale, in Harare's northern suburbs, for the academy. He has decided to take on a lot of the expense himself, but is also hoping to secure corporate sponsorship, particularly for the purchase of cricket equipment. He estimates that the academy needs about US$50,000 to get off the ground, which will go towards securing land, equipment, and appropriate playing and practice facilities.
"It's an expensive project which will require that I get sponsorship but the important thing is to get it running first then I am sure we can generate corporate interest once in motion."
Chigumbura plans for the academy to be operational throughout the year with permanent coaches to run it when he is committed with the national team or his domestic franchise. He's also hoping some of his team-mates will be interested in helping out.
He has already teamed up with fellow Zimbabwe cricketers Prosper Utesya, Tinashe Panyangara, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer and Hamilton Masakadza to conduct holiday cricket sessions at Prince Edward School in Harare from April 18 to 30. The players are hoping the sessions, which are free and open to children between seven to 12 years old, will become a yearly event and have sent out invitations to schools.