By Robson Sharuko
BRUCE GROBBELAAR says Zimbabwe football is blessed with a lot of talent the country can transform itself into a major force in the game on the international scene.
However, he feels there is a lot of investment, from financial to expertise, which needs to be poured in for the potential to be transformed into reality.
The former Warriors and Liverpool goalkeeper also feels the Warriors can do well at the AFCON finals, but believes coach Sunday Chidzambwa should tap into the expertise of some of the Zimbabwean legends.
Those players, who succeeded on the big stages, can help Chidzambwa get the best out of his men.
Grobbelaar, who now lives in England, paid a courtesy call on the Zimbabwe Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Christian Katsande, at Zimbabwe House in London, England, on Tuesday, where they discussed a wide-range of issues related to sport and tourism.
Known as The Jungleman, Grobbelaar was a member of the Dream Team and briefly coached the Warriors.
‘’He stated that the country has the potential and talent to develop a team capable of competing at the global stage,’’ a statement released by the Zimbabwean Embassy in London said.
‘’He is, therefore, keen to work with interested Zimbabwean youth and junior teams to identify and develop the existing talent and promote coaching course.
‘’Mr Grobbelaar said the national team, scheduled to take part at the AFCON in Egypt in 2019, has the potential to do well at the tournament.
‘’However, there is urgent need to mentally prepare the players for the continental level of play.
‘‘To that end, he said, that he is ready to approach former outstanding football players such as Peter Ndlovu, Kaitano Tembo and Benjani Mwaruwari so that as a group, they can work together with the national coach, Sunday Chidzambwa, to assist before the tournament.
‘’Mr Grobbelaar said he was keen to work with the national team as it prepares for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
‘’The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation could benefit through his experiences, networks and motivation for the development of grassroots football and national teams’ capacity building programmes.
‘’His involvement could be invaluable in specific projects as the promotion of coaching and training exchanges with the Diaspora community, as well as with the British sports institutions and football teams.
‘’Mr Grobbelaar informed the Ambassador he was working with entrepreneurial compatriots to propose to Government the refurbishment of stadiums in Zimbabwe.
‘’The project entails the construction of supermarkets, leisure centres, clinics and other sporting facilities around the stadiums, it would also include working with the would-be corporate beneficiaries (for example, a supermarket chain group).’’
The former Dream Team star said there was need to activate programmes that would spark the identification and development of talented footballers across the provinces.
‘’The goal of the project was to develop competitive teams in all the provinces and conduct inter-city tournaments and assist in developing professional football in Zimbabwe,’’ the statement said.
‘’Mr Grobbelaar is committed and ready to assist in the development of football in Zimbabwe, particularly in working with young footballers.’’
The Ambassador noted that the country could benefit from Grobbelaar’s vast network of global contacts, not only in football, but also in tourism.
The former goalkeeper has been involved in organising tours by football teams and said he was interested in bringing some British football teams to Zimbabwe.
Katsande briefed Grobbelaar on the forthcoming Tourism roadshow in July set to roll out in London, Manchester and Birmingham and invited the football legend to participate in the initiatives being undertaken by the Embassy to promote investments in mining, agriculture and infrastructural development in this country. The Herald