By Anesu Chakanetsa

FOOTBALL, too, is like a baby which goes through infant stages up to the moment of adulthood.

The Government of Zimbabwe is investing massively in Early Childhood Development (ECD). 

The authorities went to the drawing board and realised that a better future is premised on well-developed individuals — and it begins with the infants. 

Talking of going back to the drawing board, the Sports and Recreation Commission of Zimbabwe (SRC) decided to disband the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), an association that had become a hub of successive corrupt individuals who had no knowledge of running the beautiful game. There was a lot of noise when the SRC decided to press the reset button and revamp ZIFA for the good of the game. 

Some, especially the opposition figures, were quick to attack the SRC. 

Futebol Internacional Federetion Association (FIFA), together with Confederation of African Football (CAF), banned the country for Government interference in football affairs. Then Russia began its military operation in Ukraine, a seemingly political move divorced from FIFA and other sport associations. After pressure from so-called super powers from the West, the spotting associations banned Russia from all sporting activities. 

Roman Abramovich, the then Chelsea billionaire owner, was shown the exit door after the West imposed a raft of sanctions on Russians working abroad. 

The government of England temporarily ran Chelsea until it was purchased by a group led by Todd Boehly. The West always turns to sanctions when they run out of progressive ideas. This publication asks: ‘What is government intervention?’. 

The #FIFA re-instate Kamambo hashtag is uncalled for and naive until they come and assess the state of football in the country. It’s like a tete who is calling the shots from abroad with ignoble language, while not actually getting the gist of the matter — whether they are bedroom problems or kitchen problems.  But when it comes to issues from the West, the tete folds hands and pretends not to see. 

When England sanctioned Chelsea of political issues that had nothing to do with football, FIFA remained mum. 

CAF, too, has ordered ZIFA not to use its money until the SRC re-instates Kamambo. Now, the SRC installed the Restructuring Committee that will work until the month of December 2022.

Its purpose is to bring reforms that will bring sanity to the beautiful game. 

These are the works of a Government that wants to see its beautiful game being worked-on, and not bring problems to the nation in the future. 

It all starts from the bottom.

Aston Vila and Warriors player Marvelous Nakamba’s father, Anthony Nakamba, has praised Mutare-based Manicaland Juniors of Excellency Soccer Academy (MAJESA) for their professional approach to the development of young talent.

Nakamba was speaking during the official certificates handover ceremony held at Mutare Junior School following the academy’s triumphant campaign in the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba Foundation Under 17s invitational tournament held recently in Bulawayo 

“I have often seen MAJESA operations on Facebook and other social media platforms. They have this professional approach to the game that I admire so much. I just hope and pray that they are getting all the support they need from all stakeholders here in Manicaland,” he said.

Speaking during the same event, MAJESA director Charles Chave thanked the Marvelous Nakamba Foundation for availing a platform for their academy to showcase talent.

“We really want to appreciate the Marvelous Nakamba Foundation for availing their platform where our young players can now showcase their skills. We are indeed grateful for that,” he said.

MAJESA are the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba tournament winners after clinching the coveted championship in Bulawayo recently. Benjani Mwaruwaru, too, has launched his junior football academy. 

Bhekimpilo Nyoni, Alois Bunjira and George Nechironga are doing all they can to develop the game of football from the juniors level going up. 

Now, FC Platinum are topping the log standings and this is largely due to a sound junior policy. They started poorly after offloading almost all their entire senior team and bringing youngsters on board.

Last year, the Zvishavane-based side entered into a partnership with Spanish club Real Betis that has seen the three-time champions focusing on junior players as an opportunity to derive value from selling players on the international market.

In January, they showed the exit door to a number of senior players at the club, to usher-in a new age-limit policy. Ralph Kawondera, Kevin Madzongwe, Silas Songani and Rodwell Chinyengetere parted ways with the club, ushering in new youngsters like Oscar Bhebhe and Thandiwenkosi Ngwenya. This move proved too costly at the beginning, but with time FC Platinum are once again a polished thriving side .

Norman Mapeza realised that these youngsters are the future of the club, both financially and physically. Dynamos began the season on a high, with the likes of Bill Antonio causing a lot of havoc. Highlanders recently introduced the young Prince Ndlovu who is also wreaking havoc. 

Even the greatest footballer of the land, Peter Ndlovu, came from the junior ranks.

And Zimbabwe has a lot of budding youngsters at home and abroad, such that if they are allowed to merge, the country will have a great footballing future.

It all starts from the bottom. 

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