Bruce Chikuni in JOHANNESBURG, South Africa

FORMER SOUTH Africa international Reneilwe “Yeye’’ Letsholonyane has revealed his admiration for Zimbabwean talent while also bemoaning the declining number of players from this country into the DStv Premiership.

Letsholonyane was among a number of former Bafana Bafana stars, including Mathew Booth, who watched matches at the ongoing Under-17 Vision View TV Easter Cup of Champions in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The dreadlocked ex-midfielder, who also starred for Kaizer Chiefs, said he had been charmed by Legends Academy’s players who are part of the youth football Easter fiesta.

Legends Academy’s interest in this tournament ended after they lost 0-2 to SuperSport United in a make-or-break affair.

Before this fixture, Legends Academy had managed four points, a goalless draw against the hosts Transition, a 1-3 loss at the hands of RESA and a thumping 6-0 win over Rocking Stars.

Their 6-0 triumph is the biggest win in the tourney so far.

Legends Academy, an affiliate of English Premier League side, Everton, were the only Zimbabwean team at the invitational regional development tournament.

“Zimbabwe is one of the countries in the COSAFA region with serious talent and I was expecting the performance, which I saw from Legends Academy.

“They did well to make people realise that there’s talent in Zimbabwe.

“I was thrilled with the way they played even though they lost against SuperSport United but you could see the hunger, fighting spirit and purpose,” said Letsholonyane.

He added:

“What I also observed from Legends Academy is in terms of talent, the margins are not that wide as compared to what we have in South Africa, they are still learning and adapting to reach their full potential.

“But these tournaments will help to bridge that gap and expose these future stars to international football, which will make it easy to play for the national teams once they get their chance.

“I don’t know what is limiting Zimbabwean players to make the grade in South Africa as they used to do in the past.

“But what I know is having such tournaments will open doors for players to play even in Europe.

“All I know is once these competitions are played frequently, it’s going to be hard to ignore Zimbabwean talent.”

Legends Academy director Farai Dhliwayo said his young players needed such tournaments to get a broader perspective of how the game is developing.a

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