By Petros Kausiyo
FORMER Warriors midfielder Kennedy Chihuri believes the country has the capacity to regularly feature at the African Cup of Nations and has started an ambitious programme with his partners to identify talented Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom who could become key members of the various national teams.
Chihuri has been in England since he relocated from the Czech Republic at the end of his professional playing career and yesterday hailed the efforts being made by coach Callisto Pasuwa and his 2015 Class, who are fighting for a place at the 2017 Nations Cup in Gabon.
The former Chapungu midfielder is also the man behind the trial stint for the FC Platinum pair of Wisdom Mutasa and Walter Musona, who left the country yesterday for Slovakia.
Mutasa and Musona, who are also members of the Young Warriors side that is chasing Zimbabwe’s 2016 Olympic dream, will be in Slovakia for an initial three weeks, which effectively rules Mutasa out of the African Nations Championships preliminary round, second leg encounter against Comoros away on July 4.
The 20-year-old son of WhaWha coach Lloyd Mutasa started the game in the Warriors 2-0 first leg triumph over Comoros at Rufaro last Sunday with the national Under-23 skipper then making way for his FC Platinum teammate Marshall Mudehwe, who scored the Warriors’ insurance goal towards the end of the match.
Chihuri said from his base in England yesterday that the move was part of a grand plan which he was working on together with his partners to secure opportunities for talented young players in the United Kingdom and at home.
With Chihuri also indicating that the pair of Mutasa and Musona could also try their luck with a Czech Republic club, there is a strong possibility now that Wisdom could also miss the first leg of the Young Warriors’ African Under-23 Championships crunch final qualifier against South Africa at Rufaro on July 14.
Midfielder Mutasa and striker Musona will begin their bid to play in Europe by attending trials at FK Senica, where Chihuri is confident they can make the grade.
“These are talented youngsters and they have the potential. I think such clubs like FK Senica can be a starting point for them. European leagues are different and one has to adapt first and that is why I am saying this should be a starting point for them to market themselves and then move onto other leagues or clubs.
“It is not ending with just these two, we are going to consider more players from Zimbabwe because I believe that the more we have our players being exposed to the big leagues, the better it is for our game and the easier it will be for the national coaches.
“I am in constant touch with Callisto and we are proud of the work he is doing under very difficult circumstances and we will do our bit from here to try and assist him,’’ Chihuri said.
Chihuri, who at the peak of his career played Champions League football with Viktoria Zizkov in the Czech Republic, revealed that he had together with his young brother and former Motor Action defender Lewis and a colleague Shingirayi Jose, set up Dynamos Wanderers in England, which is an institution tasked with assembling players who have the potential to become top stars for their clubs and country.
He said they had noted that such countries like Ghana and Nigeria had a number of players in the Diaspora who are assembled and train like a shadow national team.
“I have realised that we have a lot of talented players in England alone and we have been talking to them about the need for them to play for their country and they like the idea too.
“So we are saying they can train here and we then we arrange to have the national coach assess them . . . they can even play against the national team in a practice match and the national coaches can pick those they need.
“If Ghanaians and Nigerians have been identifying talent and creating teams that make it easy for their national coaches, why not us?
“Victor Moses initially played for England’s juniors but through this system, he was identified and now plays for the Super Eagles.
“We have also been in touch with the guys who are in the South of England like Muzondiwa Mugadza, Liberty Masunda and Maxwell Dube who are helping identify talent,’’ Chihuri said.
Jose said their Dynamos Wanderers project had also been identifying talent from a very young age with the oldest player they currently have being 24 years.
“Dynamos Wanderers is a name we just came up with but it has no links with the DeMbare back home. We have been telling the youngsters that the competition is tough in England but they also need to avail themselves for their country when called to do so.
“Some of the players we are working with include Raymond Sibanda, Munyaradzi Mbanje, Maldini Nyandoro, Brendon Masuku, Darlington Sango, Cedric Katsaumire, Tinotenda Chibharo, Fidel Mhlohlo, Talent Moyo, Farai Kavhuru, and Morgan Jnr Muhwati.
“We also have a very strong Under-17 squad that has some talented players like Martin Zulu who is the son of Phillip Zulu,’’ Jose said. The Herald