Thursday, November 1, 2018

2018 Mopani Copper Mines COSAFA U-20 Championship: Opportunity To Blend Foreign Born Youngsters Into National Team Set Up

From left to right; Burnley FC's Tinashe Chakwana, Leicester City's Admiral Muskwe & Celtics Kundai Benyu could add value to our national U-20 side.
It is no secret that our junior football in Zimbabwe is currently in shambles. For the past two-years, both the national U-17s and U-20s football teams have been performing dismally at regional tournaments - failing to go beyond the preliminary stages of their respective competitions.

The Under-17s have struggled to win even a single game in the couple of previous Cosafa under-17 Championships under the guidance of one of Zimbabwe's greatest football sons-Moses Chunga and earlier this year after conducting another extensive countrywide search for talent, the Young Warriors coached by Tafadzwa Mashiri lost to Angola, Malawi and Swaziland, managing only three goals and conceding eight, and finished bottom on the standings in Mauritius.

Unlike the Under-17s who are yet to lift the regional Under-17championship, the Under-20s have won the COSAFA under-20 Championship six times but have exited in the first round in each of the last two years.

Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) seems to have lost interest in developing junior football in the country. They are no proper grassroots football structures at the moment in Zimbabwe that backs up and strengthens our junior national teams.

The Chiyangwa led board is still very far from solving the dismal perfomances that has befallen our junior teams as there is still no junior leagues in the country that are paramount in building viable junior national teams which in-turn feeds the senior national team.

However, despite all our woes- the regional competition has to continue- the 2018 Mopani Copper Mines COSAFA under-20 edition is going to be held in Zambia from December 2-14 in the town of Kitwe.

In the wake of this new edition where the Young Warriors were thrown in Group C alongside usual suspects, Angola, Botswana and Lesotho- it is very beneficial for the technical stuff to consider foreign born youngsters especially those who are currently targeted for the senior national team, to take part in the COSAFA tournament and other junior competitions to follow.

Youngsters like Burnely FC forward Tinashe Chakwana, Leicester City's Admiral Muskwe, Celtics' Kundai Benyu, and many more other youngsters who are doing well and still under age of 20-years old, could be used to boost the talented but technically deficient Young Warriors in the upcoming COSAFA Championship.

The addition of foreign born youngster will not only benefit the Young Warriors technically, but the move will also give opportunity for the foreign born youngsters to get accustomed to Zimbabwe national team conditions, get chance to blend with their local based counterparts and familiarizing with the national team set up in preparation for the senior level.

Meanwhile, host Zambia are the leading Champions having won the competition 11 times while Zimbabwe and South Africa have six each and Madagascar one.


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