Acknowledging the crisis of a region

HARARE - The way South African media has been charmed by Zimbabwean striker Tendai Ndoro’s impressive goal-scoring ability gives us Zimbos a great deal of pride in one of our own.

Having moved over to South Africa in the January mid-season transfer window, the former Chicken Inn hitman is only three goals shy of the Super Diski’s leading goal-scorer Bernard Parker, who has played the whole season long.

Ndoro’s prolific strike rate at Mpumalanga Black Aces will obviously delight Zimbabwean football fans and Warriors coach Ian Gorowa, but for our neighbours South Africa, it has brought to the fore a national crisis in that country;  the lack of strikers who score big.

Last season, Katlego Mashego, with a mere 13 goals, finished as SA’s golden boot winner. In contrast, our top marksman (who incidentally was Ndoro), totalled 18 goals in a league four teams less than South Africa’s.

Let me be clear. I’m not going to pretend that ours is a less crisis than that of South Africa. We do have our own cause of great concern with recent-times generations of toothless strikers.

Infact, South Africa and ourselves face the same crisis in different ways. And when you look beyond these two countries, you will also see that this is infact a Southern African problem. 

That the region has lagged behind in footballing success on the continent is no longer a secret.

I cannot put a finger to what the problem is. I am sure there are those better qualified to do that.

But what is so clear to me is that the same reason why the region lags behind is the same reason why we can’t produce strikers who score in abundance.

It is also the same reason why clubs from this region fail in inter-club competitions.

It is also the same reason why there won’t be any Southern African team at the World Cup in Brazil this year.

It is against this backdrop that I saluted the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa)’s initiative to introduce its own version of the African Champions League.

There will always be another crisis brewing in this game, but the way a leadership addresses the crisis is what makes the difference, and it is quite heartening that Cosafa has acknowledged that we do have one in this region.

The introduction of a regional inter-club competition, among other measures to breathe life into football in this part of the continent, should be applauded and fully supported.


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