Zim urged to create linkages with developed partners

By Sibongumusa Dhlodhlo

Zimbabwean football can benefit from creating linkages with developed countries that can see young players getting an opportunity to be nurtured at high profile institutions abroad.

The fact that Zimbabwe has abundant football talent is undisputable but failure to provide opportunities for these players to play at the highest level of international football has deprived the country of the glory it could attain.

Very few local players have broken into Europe’s elite leagues when compared to what other countries have managed to achieve.

While appreciating that Zimbabwe has to play catch up with other countries in the continent, Aces Youth Academy Director, Nigel Munyati, says the time of going the usual route is over.

“Countries in West Africa and North Africa have had a long time of relationships with football in Europe and so on such that there is already an understanding of how the process works. We are coming into it rather late so we need to play catch up. We need to leapfrog certain stages and make sure that we get there.”

Aces Youth Football Academy has over the years managed to send several players to South Africa with four currently plying their trade in Spain.

Munyati believes providing opportunities for youngsters to play at the international level is critical as this will impact on the success of the local game.

“Grassroots development is vital in any sport. Unfortunately in Zimbabwe, this is something that is least appreciated. I always say to people, imagine starting school with Form 1. You are not going to get the best students.”

He also spoke on the need to resuscitate the community youth centres which were a platform for nurturing talent.

Established in the year 2000 and then registered with the SRC in 2001, Aces Youth Academy has produced some of the country’s finest talent in the likes of Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiart, Lincoln Zvasiya, Abbas Amidu, George Chigova and Walter Musona.