By Jean Jacques Bosco
Gothenburg, Sweden in Europe
Gothenburg, Saturday July 20, 2012
at Ulevi Stadium
Thank you for offering to give JBST Soccer Magazine interview here in Gothenburg.
Tell us more about yourself and why you are here in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Thank you for the interview. My name is Isaac MBEDZI – a Zimbabwean born native and a Canadian permanent resident. I brought my U-18 First Mobile Academy Canadian – Highlanders boys’ team to compete here. You see the whole world is here, 72 countries.
Why and how did you start your First Mobile Soccer Academy?
I established the FMSA in 2007 and registered it as a company in 2008. The reason why I established it was to match my ambition of scouting, developing, and marketing players.My start was a bit challenging – without money and players, I took all my savings to the city of LaSalle to try and secure a field to train or run my Elementary program. I was told that the city does not offer fields for such private arrangements or organizations (no academy by then existed in LaSalle).I went on however, chose kids from my friends, chose a park near me and started training them without a name. When people saw my training sessions, they flocked in and couldn’t ignore or dodge the name factor anymore because of legal purposes. I couldn’t operate an academy without a place and that’s when I decided that since we did not have a fixed training ground or facilities then we were the first ones to be in that environment and determined to make it work.
Therefore, I advised the parents that we are going to be very mobile depending on a free ground to train and they all agreed and that’s where our name “ First Mobile Sports Academy” came about.
Is this your first time to bring a team from Canada here and how did you learn about Gothia Cup?
This is my second time in the competition. The organizers invited me after they saw my academy boys in Glasgow for the Glasgow international U21 tournament in 2008.
How did you get some money to bring your players here and where are you players coming from? I know from my experience that it must be very hard even impossible to come all the way from Canada.
In Canada, it’s a challenge to establish and effectively run a Soccer academy and get funding if it is not Hockey. We embarked in community work around chain stores and thanks to Maxi Angrignon and Maxi Lasalle who gave us the opportunity and chance to do so and my players had to work after school to raise money. To come to a tournament like this, you need to raise about $4,000.00 for each player It’s a challenge for sports organizations like ours without private sponsors or funding from the government. As I always said to my players, it is not and will never be an excuse for not performing as the soccer FIFA rules states that 8 players can play a game.
How did your team perform in 2011 and 2012 in this tournament and what are your plans next year?
We did well in 2011 up to the last 32 and this year we went to the last 16 and it was massive but obvious with a story (No Goalkeeper). Sometime, we had to play 10 players due to injuries as I ONLY had 11 players due to several reasons including financial means, also we did not have 4 expected guest players who were supposed to come from our partner, Highlanders Football Club, in Zimbabwe.
Do you plan to ask any support from the government of Canada? If so, what type of assistance?
I asked for support from the Canadian Government via our Member of Parliament in LaSalle. Her office informed me that they don’t directly or indirectly fund soccer. Maybe I should do a research about how the Olympians get funding by the Canadian Government.
Do you have anything else you would like to share with us?
Yes, yes! It I s a pity that OUR government does not take soccer seriously like other countries. Canada has so many talented players here. Encouraging young soccer player immigrants from soccer power houses and properly develop them would allow Canada to have highly competitive players from Canada like France that has been winning several World Cups.
For instance, in Canada, we have Brazilian, Argentinean, Italian, French, English, Spanish, African, East European young talented immigrants just to name a few.
Unfortunately, the Canadian government does not support any private or community soccer teams that travel to represent the Canadian flag overseas as far as I know.
In my opinion, it is important that people like me, newspapers and Soccer magazine like yours, advocate the need of supporting travelling teams to the Canadian government and other private sectors that could help the funding. There is probably a lack of passion somehow.
Thank you very for your time and sharing your amazing narrative with us. JBST Soccer Magazine wishes you a safe return home!