HARARE – The recent disappointing performance by the Warriors at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon has shown the need for Zimbabwean football to evolve.
Zimbabwe was knocked out of the tournament in the group stages after defeats to Senegal, Tunisia and a draw against Algeria.
The Warriors were particularly poor in the two defeats to the Lions of Teranga and the Carthage Eagles.
At times, Warriors players were failing to do the basics like ball control, passing and accurate shooting.
Surely, at international level we expect all players selected to play for the Warriors to be accustomed to such rudimentary aspects of the game.
Zimbabwean football took 10 steps backwards when sometime during Cuthbert Dube’s reign, junior football structures were removed from the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) constitution.
That was the death of local football as grassroots projects were all abandoned while the sole focus was placed on the Warriors.
Without a sound junior development policy spearheaded by Zifa, local football will forever remain in the doldrums.
Sponsors might come on board to support the national teams and domestic league but that will all be in vain as long there is no junior development.
Most successful football nations place a lot of emphasis on junior programmes as they are the conveyor belt which guarantees future success.
At the moment, Zimbabwean football is relying on the benevolence of a few individuals like Mark Duvillard and Methembe Ndlovu, who are running successful academies which are producing players for all clubs and ultimately the national teams.
Zifa needs to give funding to such academies in order for them to continue producing players who can compete on the international stage.
Our local coaches must also embrace the new trends in world football which are constantly changing on a regular basis.
Sadly, a lot of our coaches are still stuck in the primitive age and believe that finding the best n’anga to provide them with juju is the formula to success.
There are many tales in our football of coaches spending the entire week away from the training ground and going to great lengths to visit witchdoctors.
Football is now a scientific sport and if juju really worked then Africa would have won a lot of World Cup trophies but that is not the case.