HomeSportThey are simply not good enough!

They are simply not good enough!

With Darlington Majonga

WHEN the country’s best goalkeeper can’t make the grade with an obscure club in Israel, it’s racism, we are told.



, Helvetica, sans-serif”>When the national team’s best attacking midfielder is deemed excess baggage at a lowly Cyprus team, he’s being punished for overstaying with the national team, the conspiracy theorists also tell us.


When local players warm the substitute’s benches at South African sides, it must be xenophobia.


When the captain himself is told to pack his bags at an English division one side, “they don’t know what a good striker is”, or he was being overpaid and the club wanted to reduce costs.


And when a promising hitman is fired from his German club for falsifying his age, “don’t you know they don’t like blacks?”


For the uninitiated, this is the cream of Zimbabwe’s football we are talking about.


It’s a pity you can get any excuse you want, but that our players are simply not good enough to make the grade in any major football leagues of the world.


It’s even harrowing to imagine when Zimbabwe’s own crème de la crème struggle in inferior leagues — like the South African Premier Soccer League — that are only superior to our own top-flight league for their money.


Then someone seriously expects the Warriors to qualify for the World Cup, or even to prove their maiden appearance at the African Cup of Nations last year was no fluke?


Sadly and admittedly, the media over many years has been gullible enough to accept and feed the public flimsy excuses on why most of our players have failed to make it abroad.


It’s still being talked about today how arguably Zimbabwe’s best midfielder, Moses Chunga, failed to make it in England and ended up at an inferior Belgium club where he did not even last long. We are told Bambo disappointed his assessors in England when he scored with a booming shot when it was easier to pass. Really?


There were also tales about Madinda Ndlovu’s failure to move to Europe, Memory Mucherahowa to Argentina and Wilfred Mugeyi to China — of all places!


Then we have had former Warriors skipper Norman Mapeza going to England again, but we were told failure to get a work permit had scuppered his dream move.


Even as recently as last year, no one was honest enough to tell us why Joel Lupahla could not make it at Sheffield United in England.


The list is endless, but I can bet my last dollar you will certainly hear our

players fail to move to world-renowned leagues because it’s too cold in those countries, work permits are difficult to get or that they are simply racists.


The only Zimbabwean players who have played in notable leagues are Peter Ndlovu, when he was at then English premiership side Coventry, and Benjamin Mwaruwaru, who is at top French team AJ Auxerre.


The rest we can boast have had stints in Turkey, the Czech Republic and lowly leagues in Poland, Cyprus, Greece and of course South Africa — where none of that country’s best players are based.


It’s just too bad for Zimbabwe at the moment, unless we get serious about nurturing the talent we claim is abundant in the country. Professionalism, from football administrators to players, is badly needed.


Otherwise Zimbabwean football won’t go anywhere and our players won’t make it into better leagues either.


Right now Peter Ndlovu is struggling to show why Patrice Motsepe had to pay R3 million for his services at South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, but it would be asking for too much to expect a man who turns 32 next week to be as quick as he was a few years ago.


Lupahla, who emerged Zimbabwe’s new find at the Nations Cup last year, has been roaming the streets clubless for a year now. It’s really sad that we have to pin our national hopes on such players.


Why Lupahla can’t get a club, even in South Africa, is anyone’s guess but I believe the speedy player is not as good as we would want to believe him to be.


Then we have Newton Katanha who for all the reasons wants us to believe Thierry Henry, Sol Campbell, Samuel Eto’o, Benny McCarthy, Jay-Jay Okocha, Samuel Kuffour, Shaun Wright-Philips or Mwaruwaru are white because he claims he was shown the exit at his former division two German club because he has black pigmentation.


Spare us that nonsense. I admit racism is rife in Europe and very few if any black players have been spared monkey noises and racial jibes.


That presumably is the treatment that sent Warriors’ first-choice goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro bolting out of Israel, but we know nearly all big clubs around the world have black players.


I honestly feel the giant goalie has been selective in telling us the truth. We were told when he returned last year that he wanted to attend to his son who wasn’t feeling well — fair and fine, you are a caring father.


But to expect us to believe you were right not to return to your club because you had failed to adjust to conditions in Israel and that you feared for your security is like expecting us to believe Caps will wear a blue-and-white strip this season. We don’t believe you Energy. We think you dived the wrong way!


For a start, you signed a contract that you were expected to abide by no matter how snow fell in Israel or you were taunted a “black thing”. And you even knew the security situation in that country before you put pen to paper.


Now Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin are making life difficult for you because they were pissed off by the way you breached the contract.


By the way, you are supposed to be our first-choice goalkeeper next month when we face Angola in a World Cup qualifier — never mind you haven’t been in action for some time.


It’s causing everyone headaches Energy because you can’t even play for

Caps United now because Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin yakasunga zvinhu.


Murambadoro’s predicament points to a clear lack of understanding of contractual obligations that is also witnessed in abundance on our domestic front.


We have had cases of players trying to hop from one club to another when they have contracts that bind them not to do so. It’s a pity many of us have rushed to criticise some clubs for “holding on” to players against their wishes.

The majority of soccer players we have in Zimbabwe really need to be schooled on contractual obligations.


As I write we have this pre-season period heard of players like former Lancashire Steel and Dynamos goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube signing two contracts with two clubs.


We have also been told how Katanha signed a contract with Caps United only for him to slip out of the country to hunt for a club in Europe before kicking a ball at Makepekepe.


There are numerous other cases and it’s shocking to hear of players hopping around with four contracts in their pockets until they settle for the one offering probably more money.


It’s all about signing-on fees that excite them that they will rush to inscribe their signatures without looking at other details of the contracts they enter with clubs.


That’s where the professionalism we are always clamouring comes in.


Maybe football authorities, be they at clubs, the Premier Soccer League, lower divisions or the Zimbabwe Football Association, need to think about educating players on contracts and other issues expected of anyone who dreams of becoming a professional.


Most of our players are not groomed at all, which is why the majority can’t even face a press conference. Even when it comes to one-on-one interviews, you really feel sorry for some of the guys we expect to be our ambassadors in international football.


Football is now more than raw talent.


dmajonga@yahoo.com

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