Chelsea coaches in Zim

HARARE – Laurence Griffin heads a small delegation of coaches from English Premiership side Chelsea, who arrived in the country yesterday morning for the Unilever-sponsored Shield-Chelsea football talent.

Griffin, who is the football development officer for the English Premiership giants across Asia, and his team are required to pick one gifted Zimbabwean footballer from the 34 shortlisted players to get an opportunity of flying to London and train with Chelsea legends at Cobham.

The local players went into camp last week and are training at Belgravia Sports Club under the guidance of former Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa, ex-Highlanders mentor Cosmas Zulu, former Dynamos midfielder Naison Muchekela and former CAPS United player Alois Bunjira.

And soon after touching down at the Robert Mugabe International Airport, Griffin, who is in the company of his colleagues Steve O’Reilly and Antony Myers, said they are looking forward to have a feel of local talent.

“We are really looking forward to a couple of days here working in Zimbabwe and finding out all about football in this country. One new experience for me, one new experience for Chelsea Football Club and I’m very much looking forward to it,” he said.

“Personally for me, this is my first visit to southern Africa. I have visited Nigeria and Ghana and it has been fantastic.

“We have seen lots of great football which is an important thing. The standard has been set very high.

“I heard good things about football here and I’m very much looking forward to get on the field and find out a lot about Zimbabwean football.

Giffin added: “We are looking for a rounded individual who possesses a number of different qualities such as the technical ability on the ball, the ability to pass, dribble, turn, shoot, what they can do as an individual.

“That would be the first thing we look for but on top of that we will also look for tactical understanding of the game, how they can read the game, how do they adapt to different scenarios, situations, formations, systems of play.

“It’s not just about the footballing ability, it’s about how they support themselves, look after themselves on and off the pitch. Do they possess all this? Are they a good team mate, are you a good leader, so yeah, it’s a real, mix of things that we will be looking for.”

The Chelsea-Shield competition was an in-store promotion by the Unilever brand which saw customers getting the opportunity to participate after buying Shield products.

Consumers would then send unique codes on any of the Shield products they purchased before a few were selected to attend camps held in Bulawayo and Harare.