COVID-19 major blow for grassroots football development

By ZBC Reporter
THE COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a major blow on the development of grassroots football, especially in Zimbabwe where financial support is limited.
Given that talent development is not a once-off event but a process, the COVID-19 induced lockdown has made life difficult for junior football development.
Now that football has turned scientific, it is believed there are no shortcuts on player development, hence the hours invested have been compromised.
“Covid-19 has greatly affected us when we talk of junior development. Youngsters have been lying idle for a long time and it is not healthy for youngsters. Given that most of these players lack financial muscle, it becomes very difficult than for them to train on their own,” said Nyoni.
“We are continuing to fill the lockdown pinch as we know in football, practice makes it all perfect. These youngsters need to be pushed and assuming that they will give their all when doing individual training, we will be lying to ourselves. We are now hoping that when the game returns we will have to put in extra effort and go that extra mile to bring these players back on track,” said Guti.
“We need to take into cognizance the fact that grassroots talent development is not a one-time thing. It is a process, and to prepare a ‘complete’ footballer, he/she needs to go through all the stages. No shortcuts. As you know, around 10 000 hours of work should be put in on a player in the development and with the coronavirus induced break, it has gotten more complicated since, before the pandemic, clubs and academies still struggled to reach that,” said Chitima.
Football activities were put on hold in March as a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 pandemic and five months down the line, there is still no activity to talk about in Zimbabwe.
However, the restrictions while necessary they have greatly affected the development of grassroots football not only in Zimbabwe but globally as juniors are deemed the future of the game.