FORMER Warriors captain Method Mwanjali’s revelation that he feels loved in South Africa is quite sad.

It’s yet another reminder that we don’t respect and love our retired athletes as much as we should be doing.

After spending two decades in the game, before hanging the boots two seasons ago, Mwanjali says he doesn’t feel the love from a nation he served with a lot of distinction.

He did a lot for our football yet he says he is getting more love from the South Africans instead of from us his countrymen and women.

It’s sad how we easily forgot the way Mwanjali lit the local domestic football scene and became the leader of our national team.

He was the captain who led us to the COSAFA Cup success in 2009 with that comprehensive win over Zambia in the final at Rufaro.

Back home, he played for and captained CAPS United, Shabanie and Hwange.

Across the Limpopo, he played for and captained Mamelodi Sundowns and Mpumalanga Black Aces.

It’s a rare feat for a footballer to play for and captain each club he joined.

These are the real legends worth celebrating and worth our love.

Two years after retiring, Mwanjali is now a role model for junior football development in South Africa.

South African football administrators now treat Mwanjali as one of theirs.

Back home, we can’t seem to utilise such figures who have plenty to offer to our national game.

He appealed to ZIFA to give them a chance to share their opinions on how football should be run.

They don’t want to take over the game, they simply want to contribute to how it should be run and make a difference.

It’s not Mwanjali who has complained about this.

Moses Chunga, the first local footballer to be transferred directly to Europe after Independence, has always complained about this.

He can’t understand why his game doesn’t seem to have time, and respect, for its heroes who used to provide the magic on the pitch.

Many argue that local football was hijacked by a cartel of chancers who did not feel comfortable with the presence of the men and women who played it at the highest level.

That is why those who tried their luck to play a part in the administration of the game were always kept out of the circle of those who would run the game.

Like the proverbial prophet who does not have honour in their homeland retired Zimbabwean athletes are being valued beyond our borders.

The trend has been going on for ages and we now take it as if it’s something that is normal.

This trend must come to an end.

It is high time that we should cherish our own and give them roles in the development of sport and other disciplines.

These people have plenty to offer for the development of our sport.

They have passion and we should give them a chance.

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