By Yolanda Ndlovu – Harare, August 27, 2012: Many of Zimbabwe’s top athletes have benefitted from sports scholarships to various United States colleges and universities, a U.S. Embassy education official said on Friday.
“U.S. colleges and universities provide over 150,000 sports-based scholarships worth more than $600 million from a field of 35 sports each year. In Zimbabwe, this past year alone, nearly 100 students were awarded scholarships of which over ten were sports-based scholarships,” said Rebecca Ziegler Mano, the U.S. Embassy’s EducationUSA advisor in a presentation on a “How to Apply for a Sports Scholarship” at the Embassy’s Eastgate auditorium.
During the workshop, Zeigler Mano said to qualify for a sports-based scholarship one has to be playing sports at a national amateur level and have passed O level with good grades at high school.
She stressed persistence in applying, indicating that out of 50 applications, the student may get responses from only two or three interested coaches. “Make inquiries to college and university coaches; follow up with verified times/stats and a DVD when applicable; (and) follow up every lead or suggestion. Be persistent,” she said.
Many Zimbabwean sporting successes, such as swimmer Kirsty Coventry, track athletes Brian Dzingai and Ngoni Makusha, and MLS soccer players Joseph Ngwenya and Kheli Dube, have reached their sporting potential through studying in the U.S. on sports scholarships.
This August, another crop of students with promising sporting talent have left for studies in the U.S. under sports scholarships. They include Pamela Zitsanza, who is a sprinter at Truman State University; Clever Mukori, a long distance runner at Evansville State University; and Karrine van Rooyen and Robin Stevenson, who have gone to St Francis University and East Stroudsburg University on hockey scholarships.
This year the Embassy plans to embark on an initiative to work with Zimbabwe’s top track and field athletes and swimmers to equip their coaches, associations, and parents to help their student athletes win sports scholarships at NCAA Division I colleges and universities in the United States.
“From our experience, Zimbabwean student athletes have faced challenges with reporting verifiable and documented statistics for provincial and national events, which are essential for U.S. coaches to measure their athletic achievements,” said Zeigler Mano. “No student athlete needs to pay anybody in order to apply for a U.S. sports scholarship. We want to assist our top athletes to have all of the ammunition they need to prove their ability to U.S. coaches.”
EducationUSA is based at the U.S. Embassy’s Eastgate offices and provides comprehensive, current and accurate information on study in the U.S. It has satellite offices in Mutare (at the Turner Memorial Library), Gweru (Gweru Memorial Library), and Bulawayo (at the Bulawayo Public Library.