Prioritise junior football development, says Nakamba

By Lawrence Trusida, Sports Editor

ZIMBABWE and Aston Villa midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba has challenged responsible authorities to prioritise junior football development for the country to produce more football stars.

Zimbabwe used to have a sound junior policy with all top clubs having teams that played in a structured junior league.

However, it is now just a distant memory with only a handful of clubs having junior teams while academies have sprouted but without proper structures.

Zimbabwe and Aston Villa midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba who successfully organised a junior football tournament in Bulawayo last weekend believes a well-structured junior development system is the best foundation for future success.

“This is where we came from, as youngsters we were in a junior team that was being run professionally and here I am today, and we had many trips outside the country and as a youngster, you would get motivated and you wanted to return there and here I am, I managed to return there and play my football,” said Nakamba.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Football Association technical director, Wilson Mutekede has raised alarm on the challenge of age cheating after the Dynamos junior football team was booted out of the Marvelous Nakamba football tournament for what has become a cancer in local football.

“Now there is a deliberate process to fund junior football and ZIFA has started to go into provinces to fund those projects and we have created a database from primary school and this will help fight issues of age cheating in football as we will capture data from as early as seven years,” said Mutekede.

Eight coaches attended the Marvellous Nakamba Youth Tournament to select players who are eligible to go into camp and prepare for the regional youth games set for Malawi in December.