SINCE Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar mesmerised Zimbabwean football fans with his exploits in goal in the 1990s, no other white local footballer has donned the Zimbabwe Warriors colours.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
We could however soon have another such talent as Zimbabwe youth international and Harare City’s newly recruited teenage prodigy Calum English-Brown has expressed the desire to emulate the “Jungleman” and play for the national team.
However, English-Brown, who represented the Zimbabwe Under-17 team at Cosafa in Mauritius last year, is so far eligible to play for the Warriors since he holds a British passport.
“I would like to play for the Warriors. In fact, it would be a dream come true for me. It’s just that I have an issue with my passport. I am struggling to get a Zimbabwean passport and if I don’t get that, I won’t be able to play for the country,” English-Brown told The Sports Hub on the sidelines of a Harare City training session at ZB Sports Club last week.
Maybe it’s too early for the 16-year-old who has just joined a top-flight team to think about the national colours when he has hardly settled at his new club.
If anything, the St John’s College midfielder is surprised that he is already part of a premiership side at his age.
“I never thought I would be playing for a premier league club at 16. I thought maybe after I finished school at 18, but I guess this gives me that extra experience as I embark on a football career,” he said.
“This season I hope to get some game time and to show that I am a good player, that I can make an impact in the team. Hopefully in seasons to come I can get more regular game time. Eventually I want to further my career in Europe and go play as a far as I can, but for now I am happy here in Zimbabwe so I will spend a few more seasons,” the ginger-haired playersaid.
English-Brown is a product of Farai Dhliwayo’s Eastlea-based Legends Football Academy.
Dhliwayo has tipped English-Brown to be a huge success at Harare City in the Castle Lager premier soccer league.
“At Legends Football Academy it is our job to develop players and give them the necessary skills to go on and have successful professional careers. Calum has all the technical ability to become a great player. The move to Harare City will allow him to hone his decision-making in pressure situations. I have no doubt that he will succeed at the club,” Dhliwayo said of the teenage footballer.
The academy, which had the privilege to host former Fifa World Player of the Year Rivaldo when he visited the country last year, also have Carl Gandiwa who has joined a top-flight league team, Shabanie Mine, this season.
Harare City kicked off their season with a nil-all draw with CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium last week but English-Brown did not make the match day squad.
His coach Mark Harrison is biding his time before throwing the youthful attacking midfielder into the deep end.
“He is a young boy, only 16 years old. You have to be patient with him, he has got a lot of talent, but he has got a lot to do to be ready for this stage. He will probably play in the later part of the season because he has to bring himself from schoolboy football to the premier league level,” he said.