Inside sport with MICHAEL KARIATI
Lloyd Chigowe is a strong believer in young talent and the coach has not abandoned that belief with the highly demanding job at Dynamos, arguably Zimbabwe’s most popular football team.
“MaBlanyo”, as the affable coach is affectionately known by the fans, has stuck to his belief and has departed from the Zimbabwean football system of recycling the same old players who have moved from one team to the other, and has brought in young, unknown, but exciting talents at Dynamos.
It should also be placed on record that Chigowe himself is also lucky to be at Dynamos. DeMbare, just like other Premiership clubs, are also in the habit of recycling the same old coaches, while the not so popular names are sidelined and confined to oblivion.
Although he has taken on board the likes of Edward Sadomba, Munyaradzi Diya and Archieford Gutu, Chigowe’s class of 2019 is made up largely of unknown, but exciting youngsters whom he believes will set the stage alight this coming soccer programme.
Almost two-thirds of Chigowe’s team that is to be registered for the new Premier Soccer League season is made up of youngsters whose names are unfamiliar to Zimbabwean football followers, but have a dream of making it big one day.
Few — that is if there are any — in Zimbabwean football have heard the names of Munya Kawadza, Emmanuel Jalayi, Rodwell Mhlanga, Jerome Nyatenge, Joseph Mutembedza, Tanaka Chengeta, Munyaradzi Chipo, Tatenda Hapazari and Tafadzwa Ngwena, among others.
“It does not make sense for me to employ at Dynamos those players who have led many teams to relegation and think they will perform miracles at DeMbare. There are too many talented youngsters out there who deserve a chance,” says Chigowe.
Through his project, Chigowe is saving Dynamos from spending heavily on the transfer market. More importantly is the fact that DeMbare will benefit heavily financially should some of the players he has given a chance sparkle and attract the interest of foreign clubs.
This project could also be of Zimbabwe’s benefit as a country. Who knows, maybe, one day, some of Chigowe’s discoveries could grow into stars in the mould of Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiart and Marvelous Nakamba and become the leading lights of the Warriors set-up.
It is a fact that over the years, Zimbabwean football has suffered due to the non-emergence of exceptional new talent. This is because local coaches seem to be focusing more on the so-called “experienced” players forgetting that the future of their clubs lies in junior players.
Take, for example, CAPS United, Harare City and Manica Diamonds. These clubs spent heavily on players who have been going on a merry-go-round of clubs, while talented youngsters are there in abundance in the lower divisions.
MaBlanyo’s success in his new venture could help change local coaches’ line of thinking that experience is always better. Even at national team level, Zimbabwean football has suffered as the coaches have not looked down further there for talent.
That is the reason why the Zimbabwe’s Under-17 and Under-20 teams have not performed well in continental competitions.
Although Chigowe appears to be on the right track and leading the way in the direction Zimbabwean football should take, he also faces some problems at his own club Dynamos.
The team’s supporters are an impatient lot that does not believe in building for the future, but demand immediate results. What they want are trophies, the league title, and to be celebrating whenever their team plays.
If MaBlanyo is to survive at DeMbare, then his youngsters must play exciting and attractive football, and also win matches. Without that, he will find his way out, in the same way his namesake, Lloyd Mutasa, found the exit. However, the success of his project would be the sweeter than its failure.
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