ZIMBABWE football might be a mess but abandoning junior structures will haunt the country in the long run and in the process destroy the careers of budding footballers, a junior football benefactor has warned.
The country is currently under a Fifa ban for a number of football administration misdemeanours that the world football governing body frowns upon and has punished Zimbabwe for.
Young players up to the senior national team have been affected by the Fifa ban.
Tumeliso Mokoena Ndlovu, the founder of New West Football Club, the team that groomed the likes of Highlanders’ Rahman Kutsanzira, former Bosso defender Tendai Ngulube, ex-players Warren Dube (How Mine) Zibusiso Sibanda (Harare City), Erico Phiri (Tsholotsho FC) and Blessing Mwandimutsira (Buffaloes FC), reckons junior development must never be abandoned.
To that end he is going back to the basics by sponsoring an eight-team tournament that will draw teams from Lobengula, Njube and Emakhandeni suburbs.
The two-day tournament will be played on the first weekend of December.
Ndlovu is a former secretary-general of the Zifa Southern Region board that was led by veteran administrator Musa Mandaza.
“Football politics and bickering aside, junior structures are key to the development of our football and the emphasis should always be on making sure that young players are given all the necessary support to thrive.
“The eight-team tournament will reward all the teams with training equipment so that all the teams will have a start point when preparing for next year, without having to worry about stuff such as training balls, cons, bibs and match day kits,” said Ndlovu.
Ndlovu says, for the record, he has no intention of making a comeback into football administration.
“Every young player needs somewhere to start their career and a robust junior development programme is the only way for those boys and girls to realise their dreams. Sponsoring this tournament is a way of giving back to the communities that made us who we are today,” he added.