Zim should encourage players to go to Europe

HARARE - As the world turns its attention to the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil, Zimbabwe will be among the countries content on watching the showpiece from the comfort of their homes.

The country, considered on the continent as a sleeping giant that has never realised its full potential, has not been to any World Cup and has only featured in limited additions of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Not good for a country that has produced so many talented stars.

Zimbabweans have contributed immensely to what the South African Premiership brand is today but somehow cannot convert that success into the national team; which might explain where the problem lies.

There have been suggestions from some quarters that the acceptance of South Africa back into the Fifa family 20 years ago has somehow disadvantaged Zimbabwean soccer big time.

Most of Zimbabwe’s good players used or use South Africa as a stepping stone to international stardom. But the cash-rich Absa Premiership has worked against most players’ ambitions.

With so much cash around within the South African Premiership, most players both from countries bordering Mzansi and from African countries, 70 percent of who are from Zimbabwe, have found no incentive in furthering their careers in Europe.

Recent studies have revealed that top players in clubs like Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns earn almost equivalent to most First Division (second tier) in the English Premiership.

While most African players, especially from West Africa, would die to play for any club in Europe which they later use as a gateway to greater things, millions being poured into the Absa Premiership are doing most Cosafa countries a lot of disservice.

Players need to be exposed to best practices if they are to compete against the best in the world hence most Cosafa countries will always play second fiddle to their West and North African counterparts.

For the umpteenth time, there is no Cosafa country heading to the World Cup and many think the Absa Premiership is much to blame for this malaise.

Zimbabwean players need to strive to get into the European market if the country is to compete against continental giants.

News that Kaizer Chiefs are doing everything to retain Knowledge Musona, who is on loan from Germany side 1899 Hoffenheim, is worrying news for Ian Gorowa’s long term plans.

Much as the Soweto Glamour Boys, who are reportedly giving him an annual salary of around 500 000 Euros, he will never realise his international worth playing in Mzansi.

The same applies to the likes of Cuthbert Malajila, Khama Billiat, Willard Katsande and Terrence Mandaza just to name a few.

Most of these players have the pedigree to claim a stake in top European leagues but once they taste Mzansi’s fast life, it is difficult to find motivation to go the cold European weather where few people recognise them.

Unless there is a shift of this mindset, Zimbabwe is likely to remain a mediocre football playing nation.

But with Ian Gorowa in charge, he must inculcate this mentality into his players when on national duty.

This way Zimbabwe can realise its long cherished dream of competing against the best. As things stand, heartbreak after heartbreak might be the trend for the Warriors fans.

Feedback: sports@dailynews.co.zw.

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