Development is the way to go!

Development is the way to go!

The appointment of a new coach for the national team brings hope that the efforts of past managers will be
escalated to a new level. The national team job is perhaps the most challenging, especially as coaches do not have enough time to mentor players. National teams also tend to be too rigid in making changes, as they need to be consistent, and may not be flexible enough to select all the on-form players when they are on form. This is understandable as form itself is temporary, and national team coaches would have observed certain players over a reasonably long time to finally select them. The other complication is that due to club dynamics, some of the best players on the land may not be used by their own clubs. I have seen this happening in my long career. This tends
to rob the national team of much needed material. There is no doubt as to Kostadin Papic’s pedigree. He is
the kind of coach who has achieved much with little resources over and over; and nothing can prevent him
repeating this feat with our national team. Since the great run of 2016, the national team has somewhat been going through a lean perch. A lot has been said about its recent performances; much of it very unflattering. By its very nature, football always looks for scapegoats when things do not go well. It is unfortunate that at the end of the day it boils down to certain individuals, who have to take the blame when results do not come. The truth, however, is that the performance of any national team is a reflection of that countries club football. And by extension,
club football itself is a reflection of that country’s football development structures. There has got to be some
kind of standard in terms of the calibre of players that a country should produce at regular intervals. A case
in point is Zimbabwe, whose development structures are unrivalled in the Southern African region. For as long as I can remember, there has always been a class Zimbabwean star dominating individual accolades in South Africa and elsewhere in the continent and abroad. From the era of Bruce Grobbelaar, who became a Liverpool legend, to Madinda
Ndlovu and his younger brother Peter Ndlovu, who starred in the British Premier League for numerous clubs, there has been a steady flow of players such as the Mugeyi brothers, Benjani Mwaruwari, Knowledge Musona, Ezrom Nyandoro and the high-flying Khama Billiat. You cannot ever go wrong with development, and what’s interesting about Zimbabwe
is that they have continued to excel in developing the best players for some of the best leagues across the world, while going through a very tough economic crisis. There is no better case than that of Zimbabwe to prove that the best way to turn the fortunes of a country’s football is through establishing proper development structures, and it costs next to nothing. Zimbabwe has showed us that if we are willing to improve our football, =all we need is
commitment and it will happen. The Zimbabwe national team, right now, is the most formidable in the region; an ensemble of some of the best players in selected leagues around the world. We can also do it, if we prioritise development above results. Development is the way to go!

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