Make hay while the sun shines

HARARE - It's off-season again in Zimbabwean football, that time of the year when the speculation machine goes into overdrive regarding player movement and activity in the transfer market.

One topical issue which often dominates football debates during this period is the great trek of Zimbabwe’s finest football talent to the South African league at the end of every season.

Most Zimbabwean football followers are of the view that our domestic Premiership is better than the South African Absa Premiership in terms of playing standards, which, of course, is a commonly repeated myth, and a lie repeated often becomes truth.

As Zimbabweans, our rivalry with South Africa is well-documented and getting one over our more illustrious neighbours is always a nice feeling, but to suggest the South African league has inferior entertainment value to the disgraceful eyesore that is our top flight football at times, is stretching it too far.

A sub debate has in recent seasons emerged out of this; that our local players are prematurely leaving the country for South Africa.

This is another senseless debate, again, if you take a few moments to consider that football for these guys, at the end of the day, must put food on the table.

Consider this scenario: You are 21-year-old Farai Mupasiri who has only played half-a-season in his debut year of top flight Zimbabwean football and University of Pretoria, which plays in front of less than  2 000 fans at a campus stadium, come calling.

This is your first chance, and football being the funny old game it is, probably your last real chance to get something tangible out of your talents and make hay while the sun shines.

The same applies to the genius individual talent of Denver Mukamba, which could soon be lost to Bidvest Wits in South Africa, a relatively small team compared to the passionately followed Dynamos back home.

Similarly, Rodreck Mutuma, at 26 or 27 years of age, might be unable to secure a contract outside the country at this phase of his career.

But if South African second tier club Dynamos offers him something slightly better than DeMbare pays him, he would be left with very few options.

It’s nice to play in front of adoring 30 000 fans every week and have them worship the ground you walk on, but ultimately it does not pay the bills.

Until such a time the Zimbabwean league fully professionalises, we will continue to lose our best football talent every year.

We just have no capacity to hold on to them. There is no incentive for anyone wanted outside the country to stay in Zimbabwe longer than necessary.

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