Saturday, April 15, 2017

Weekend Opinion: ZIFA Should Work To Entice Overseas-Born Youngsters For Warriors Squad

From left to right, Ipswich Town youngster Tristan Nydam, Aldershot Town star Kundai Benyu, Burnley F.C's Tinashe Chakwana and Leicester City forward Admiral Muskwe.
It is a fact that most successful football nations in Africa derive their strength from quality international based players who brings in stability and experience to the national teams in International competitions.

Zimbabwe currently have a handful of players playing in the competitive top European leagues - perhaps due to lack of development in our local league - but have a lot of established talented young footballers who were born or raised in Europe (United Kingdom, in particular) that could help, for a start, to stabilize our national team.

Rising youngsters like Aldershot Town's Kundai Benyu, Leicester City's Admiral Muskwe, Burnley F.C's Tinashe Chakwana, Ipswich Town's Tristan Nydam,  just to name a few, are doing well at their respective clubs and could be snatched away to represent the Three Lions at senior level anytime soon.

Since these players were born/bred in Europe, they have been exposed to the best facilities and managers from their tender age and could bring the balance our national team needs to make an impression at international competitions.

Zimbabwe Football Association communications manager, Mr. Xolisani Gwesela outlined in an interview with soca263 that it is not the association's mandate to convince these youngsters to represent the country.

"Selection of players into the national team is the sole discretion of the coaches. It is also imperative for such players to sort their citezenship issues," said Mr. Gwesela.

"They should hold Zimbabwean passports for them to play for Zimbabwe," he adds.

Although it is clear that the players must not be begged to represent their nation it is however wise to note that these players hold dual citizenship and could easily choose to represent their host nations at International level if they are not guided and assisted to represent their parental country- Zimbabwe.

Zifa should facilitate for the inclusion of these talented youngsters in international friendlies and junior competitions so that they can have a chance to get accustomed and familiarise with the national team set up, bringing them closer to the Warriors cause more than that of their host countries.

Like in the case of Nigeria FA, were the same exercise was done and seems to be paying dividends with the likes of Alex Iwobi, Carl Ikeme, Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong having been recently lured to join the Super Eagles, Zimbabwe Football Association should also consider to do the same exercise in trying to strengthen our national team.


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