Let's build on Chan

HARARE - The African Nations Championship (Chan) which kicks off in South Africa today should be used as a step to greater pedestals by the Zimbabwe national football team.

The Warriors have qualified for the previous two editions of the tournament but there has been constant axing and changing of coaches and players which has brought little success.

With qualification for the 2015 African Nations Cup (Afcon) set to start later this year in September, the Zimbabwe football Association (Zifa) must ensure that the majority of the Warriors squad currently in South Africa form the nucleus of the team for those qualifiers.

Zimbabwe does not have a lot of players plying their trade in the top European leagues, which means that the bulk of the Warriors personnel are drawn from local and South African leagues.

For many years, the Warriors have largely depended on those foreign-based players who are currently playing in lower leagues in countries like France, Belgium and Poland.

With these players in the squad, Zimbabwe has disappointed, with the country failing to qualify for the Afcon finals since 2006.

It is high time Warriors coach Ian Gorowa puts his trust in the local players when it comes to full international matches.

The Chan tournament gives the local players valuable exposure to international football and by the time September arrives, they will be ready to battle for a place in Morocco.

The advantage of believing in local talent is that players are picked on current form as it is easy for the coaches to monitor their progress.

The problem with Zimbabwe’s foreign-based players is that they play in the less appealing European leagues that are not easily accessible even on television.

Even in this age of a global village, it is very hard for Gorowa to monitor the progress of these foreign-based players.

Zifa is currently saddled with a ballooning debt and does not have the funds to send Gorowa halfway around the world to catch up with the progress of Zimbabwean players dotted around the globe.

Gorowa and Zifa should be encouraged to put their trust in local players and the Chan tournament gives them an opportunity to see how the home-based players perform under pressure on the international stage.

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