By Descent Dube
Former Warriors midfielder Wilfred Mugeyi has challenged local football academies to learn from their South African counterparts by investing in young talent.
Speaking from his base in Cape Town, the 49-year-old former Ajax Cape Town coach said football academies play an important role in player development and training programmes.
“As a country we should invest in young talent because it’s free to rope in these youngsters, so there is little to no risk involved for an academy to sign them. If they develop they are free first team players or can be sold for massive resale value to big clubs, making a huge return on investment for grassroots football,” said Mugeyi.
During his playing days, Mugeyi took South African football by storm when he scooped three top awards, PSL Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Top Goalscorer of the Season back in 1996/97 when he scored 23 goals for Bush Bucks.
He said it cannot be disputed that the future belongs to the youth and this rings true with football also.
“Nurturing talent from a young age has always been key to the success of any country in terms of football. Developing young players doesn’t require a golden rule and that allows flexibility: in this regard, Zimbabwean academies must identify their unique ways that will work for the promotion of talent,” he said.
Mugeyi said as a country, Zimbabwe needs to emulate South Africa’s investment in young talent.
“We have to apply our own models that work best for the young kids,” Mugeyi said.
He said the ability to provide the right tools to players is the key starting point.
“It must start from infrastructure development, from the pitch and quality of turf that allows maximising development of individual technical skills and all aspects that are important to gain maximum results,” said Mugeyi who scored 170 club career goals . The Chronicle