WE’RE JUST A DOOMED FOOTBALL COMMUNITY. . . Chance to assess new players was BLOWN away

Robson Sharuko


HIGHLY-RATED teenage sensation, Joey Phuthi, was given only a few seconds to try and make a claim for himself that he is a footballer who should keep getting called up for national duty.

He was introduced in the final minute of the final of the Four Nations tournament at the Bingu Stadium in Malawi on Tuesday evening when Zimbabwe’s Warriors were already down and out.

His team was trailing Kenya 1-3, by the time he came in, and the match was virtually over.

The Warriors played 180 minutes in Malawi, which is equal to 10 800 seconds, in the two games against Zambia and Kenya.

Phuthi, a 19-year-old who is on the books of Sheffield Wednesday in England, was in the Warriors camp for the first time.

Some of his colleagues have nicknamed him Okocha, after the Nigerian superstar, while his Warriors teammates nicknamed him Doku.

The review of the Four Nations tournament should be centred on the big question – SHOULD WE HAVE TRIED TO WIN THE TOURNAMENT OR TO ASSESS THE NEW BLOOD COMING INTO THE TEAM?

Any serious football nation will have seen that there are more long term benefits in assessing the new blood of players than trying to win this friendly tournament.

That we didn’t take such an initiative is the kind of poor decision-making which has kept us out of the top 100 football nations in Africa.

Norman Mapeza should have been told by his ZIFA employers that the mandate was not to win the tournament at the expense of giving the new crop of players a chance to showcase their talent.

How do we justify that a goalkeeper, Donovan Bernard, who conceded five goals in two games, still kept goal while newboy Marley Tavaziva was never given a minute to show us what he has got?

We all know what Bernard can do, we don’t know what Tavaziva can give us and this was the chance to see him.

Tivonge Rushesha did not even have a minute to showcase his talent while the likes of Shane Maroodza, Brendan Galloway and Tawanda Maswanhise were only given cameo roles.

Mapeza was subjected to pressure to try and win a friendly tournament and, in that madness, we terribly lost the plot and blew a chance to get a glimpse of the future of our national team.

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