Football experts question selection criteria for junior football teams

By Skilder Makona

Football experts have once again questioned the selection criteria for junior football teams after the Young Warriors were eliminated from the COSAFA Under-20 tournament at the group stage.

The recent poor performance by the Zimbabwe Under-20 football team at the COSAFA tournament which also serves as the qualifier for the junior Africa Cup of Nations has cast the spotlight on the selection criteria for age group teams.

Football experts contend that junior national football teams can do better than their recent performances if the bias towards a few academies is nipped in the bud.

“The selection was questionable so to speak there’s need to coordinate with other coaches from other provinces and get players from those areas because there’s a lot of talent out there not just Harare or some academy,” said Luckson Muradzikwa.

Thomas Mangwiro said: “What we are seeing in junior national teams is not a reflection of what is on the ground, we expect to see those players from PSL clubs featuring in these teams for the sake of growth and continuity. All PSL clubs have slots for U20 players and those are the ones we expect to see acting as feeders to the national teams be it U17, U20 or U23 and so on.”

The development of coaches with a particular emphasis on juniors has also become a topical issue with other football experts calling on the authorities to ensure that ZIFA follows the dictates of the FIFA Club Licensing system which calls for sound junior development structures.

“There is no way we can talk about development if there is no development of coaches and the players. On the side of coaches, the TD should work with clubs and make sure they have sound development structures if we are to develop the game,” said Julius Chakupewa.

The Zimbabwe U-20 team bowed out of the COSAFA tournament with four points from three matches after a 2-all with South Africa opener before losing to 2-0 to Mozambique and getting a consolation victory in their last match in which they beat Lesotho 4-1.

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