RARELY does a prisoner serving a lengthy sentence expect to mix and mingle with retired footballers — let alone rub shoulders with them in a soccer game — but that dream will turn into reality at Khami Maximum Prison on Saturday.
Prisoners will relish rubbing shoulders with Bulawayo-based Warriors and Premier Soccer League legends in a football match organised by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS).
The match falls under the ZPCS’ Family Week.
The Family Week, which started last Saturday, aims to help rehabilitate inmates through increased interaction with the society.
Some of the prisoners could have been incarcerated when Warriors legends Ronald Sibanda and Johannes Ngodzo were still turning out for the Zimbabwe senior national team but come Saturday, it’s time to tackle and dribble past the legends.
The Bulawayo Legends team consists of Sibanda, Ngodzo, Dazzy Kapenya, Benjani Mwaruwari, Richard Choruma, Bekithemba Ndlovu, Chipo Tsodzo, Siza Khoza, Master Masiku, Tirivaviri Sithole, Thabani Masawi and Voster Chitema, among others.
Bulawayo Legends secretary-general Herbert Dick said they had received an invitation from the ZPCS to play against the inmates.
“The football legends that will be in Bulawayo on Saturday will certainly join us for the match against prison inmates at Khami. The match is also part of our social responsibilities as former players and citizens,” said Dick.
Local businessman Kenneth Mhlophe — director of Nokel Security Services — has pledged to assist with refreshments for the match.
The theme of the ZPCS Family Week is ‘‘Building a professional correctional system in Africa: A Strategic Objective’’.
“During Family Week, inmates will be allowed unlimited visits by their relatives and friends. Visitors and inmates will enjoy longer periods of interactions at the discretion of officers in charge of the prison,” said ZPCS spokesperson Priscilla Mthembu.