Is this Zim’s best?
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Under-17 football team that drew 2-2 at home with Mozambique on Saturday curiously had no player from reigning Zimbabwe Under-16 schools champions, Mzingwane, and runners-up Pamushana.
This raised questions whether the team, which was selected after a whirlwind countrywide talent search, was indeed the best crop of talent in that age group.
The Young Warriors, who were playing together for the first time, clearly had more talent man-for-man, but lacked cohesion as a team.
A factor which disturbed the teenagers’ rhythm in the build-up to the opening African Youth Championship qualifier was the MRI scans conducted on Thursday and Friday.
The side’s technical team and players had a torrid two days as they were hurled up in last ditch measures to complete MRI scans needed by the Confederation of African of African Football for age clarity.
Mozambique, on the other hand, used a squad that represented their country at the Copa Coca Cola Under-17 International Youth Camp recently held in South Africa.
Mozambique, who were clearly more oiled than the Zimbabweans, were in South Africa learning from the world’s best tacticians in the form of Chelsea coaches.
Interestingly, that Mozambique Under-17 side laboured to beat the Zimbabwe’s Under-16s during that tournament.
This was despite the Zimbabwe Under-16 side missing such key players as the Pamushana trio of prolific goal-scorer Gaylord Tarisai, centre-back Gerald Ziki and right-back Shelton Mukete, who failed to travel to Pretoria in unclear circumstances. The defence looked jittery on Saturday.
Over-elaboration was also the side’s undoing in attack.Young Warriors coach Lloyd Chigowe said:
“We can still add one or two players to make the squad stronger. Yes I understand there are players from the Copa Coca Cola tournament as well as the Zimbabwe Under-17 Cosasa Games team that have been said to be competent enough. If they are outstanding then they will definitely get their chance.”
The winner between Zimbabwe and Mozambique will face Congo Brazzaville in the second round of qualifiers.