SOUTH African forward, Lyle Foster became the 15th Mzansi’s player to feature in English Premier League when his Burnley side lost 0-3 to champions Manchester City in Friday’s season opener.
Five years ago, Foster shared the COSAFA Under-20 Golden Boot with Ngezi Platinum’s Delic Murimba after netting five times apiece.
Foster (22) has already played in South Africa, France, Belgium and Portugal.
Murimba is still around and waiting for a breakthrough beyond our borders. His only move after the Cosafa Under-20 championship was to join Ngezi Platinum Stars from Triangle in the domestic Premier Soccer League.
Bhekithemba Ndlovu, who was in charge of the Young Warriors, feels the lack of continuity has stalled the progress of the domestic players.
“It was a good squad and you can see that the majority of that crop have grown to become respected names in the PSL.
“But, they have all struggled to play for the Warriors and it’s really sad because as a country we were supposed to embrace these youngsters but they were totally ignored.
“The difference is South Africa saw what Foster did and guided him while Murimba was overlooked,” said Ndlovu.
Aces Youth Academy former coach, Expense Chitukutuku, said:
“Murimba’s case is a reflection of how unprepared we are as a country to take promising talent to the next level.
“It’s very difficult to polish a raw player but, after enduring that long process, someone needs to step up to help such players.
“These youngsters need exposure and it’s a privilege that we have the ZIFA Village, which we are not utilising properly.
“I believe we can qualify for the World Cup if we can identify and keep promising youngsters at this place for a good five-year period.”
Ngezi Platinum Stars developmental coach, Kifton Kadurira, helped more than 30 players to qualify to play in the PSL.
“We have talent everywhere in Zimbabwe but we lack people who are willing to go to the extremes to promote talent.
“I have worked with Murimba, he is a good striker and I think it’s up to him to find inspiration from Foster because he is still young to give up on his European dream.”
Manica Diamonds goalkeepers, coach, Themba Sibanda, coached Murimba when he was still at the infancy of his career.
He also groomed players like, Donald Mudadi, Brian Kadamanja, Thomas Chideu and Biggie Tamera.
Sibanda said there should be a system that traces the progress of young players with great potential.
“The future of the Warriors lies in the hands of young Warriors who are not being prioritised.
“We should also have a strict policy that protects young Warriors because if the PSL have a policy of having five developmental players at every club, then why can we not have a similar policy that protects these youngsters at the senior national team.
“I think we need to have at least 15 players who are below 26 years in the Warriors team for us to start talking about development,” said Sibanda.
Innocent Makoto, the founder of Derbyshire Academy which has been running since 1987 also weighed in.
Derbyshire Academy products have been gold dust in the Castle Lager Premiership and they take credit for grooming Ali, Isa and and Takunda Sadiki.
“I have been in this field long enough to tell when I see talent and Murimba is one of the players which comes to my mind because he had the pace, power and speed.
“But, I can also understand his situation because along the way, I have observed that people who are at the top do not care about the future.
“The emphasis is on who is ready to play at that moment and this tells you that we are not going, even in the PSL, only 2 out of the five registered players get the chance to play the entire season, they are treated as ball boys. No one cares if they are playing or not,” said Makoto.