EARLY this week the nation woke up to exciting news about the arrival of four football players based in Britain, giving hope to millions of Zimbabweans for a better future for their beloved flagship football team. There could not have been a better way of welcoming the talented four players other than the drum beating fans who on Monday thronged Harare International Airport, now renamed Robert Mugabe International Airport.
Even though they got off to a losing start against Lesotho on Wednesday night, the three among the four British based players who were thrust into the starting XI showed a lot of promise. For a long time efforts have been made to lure many foreign based football players to come back home and help the nation compete favourably in international competitions.
For some reason, such efforts have not yielded any positive results until this week’s refreshing development which saw the quartet —strikers Kundai Benyu, Admiral Muskwe and Macauley Bonne and defender Tendai Darikwa — touching down at Harare International Airport. This undoubtedly signals the return to the good old days when our national team used to have a number of foreign based players and not just the overrated bunch of ABSA Premiership players based in South Africa.
While players plying their trade in neighbouring South Africa have been important to the national team, the need to have more exposed players from overseas has always been apparent. That is the reason some continental heavyweights such as Nigeria and Ivory Coast have dominated Confederation of African football competitions. It should, however, be mentioned that the domestic football administration body needs to cast its nets wider and scout for more players based in other foreign leagues and not just in England.
There is no doubt that there are many more Zimbabweans that are playing in much better football leagues in other countries who have not had the opportunity to represent their country in international competitions. Bad publicity on the part of football administration in this country has not helped our dear Warriors as many players based outside the country have been reluctant to come back home. Chaos and maladministration have been the other names for Zifa.
It is refreshing to note that the Philip Chiyangwa administration has done well in instilling a sense of professionalism and normalcy to football administration in this country. Going into the future one hopes that the four new additions to the Warriors’ squad will be good ambassadors of the Warriors brand and help lure more talented foreign based players.
In the same breadth, we should hasten mention that local football administrators must now change their way of doing business and do all that it takes to be professional in their approach to football matters. In the past, we all know that those at the helm of football administration in this country have occasionally failed to send get air tickets for foreign based players to travel and join national team camp in time.
In the past, we all know that those at the helm of football administration in this country have communicated to individual players and not proper professional club communication channels when requesting for players ahead of crucial international assignments. In the past, we all know that those at the helm of football administration in this country have occasionally failed to communicate in time to foreign club officials when they needed players to join national team camp.
On numerous occasions in the past the past, we all know that those at the helm of football administration in this country have occasionally failed to pay bonuses and appearance fees for players after national team assignments.
We sincerely hope that such incidents will now be a thing of the past and through Kundai Benyu, Admiral Muskwe, Macauley Bonne and Tendai Darikwa, Zimbabwe will see many more players from different parts of the world coming back home for the sake of their Fatherland.