Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
DESPITE Zimbabwe’s continued successes at the Cosafa Cup, football legend Moses “Bambo” Chunga believes Zifa need to keep prioritising development ahead of short-term success.
The former Zimbabwe international believes the presence of some regular Warriors such as Khama Billiat, Tino Kadewere and Evans Rusike in the team took some gloss off the success.
“We are starved of success but, honestly, we still have a lot do in terms of development and football progression,’’ he said.
“Sometimes there is no need for shortcuts. We need to take the long route but what I know is that people are not patient and this tends to put coaches under pressure.
“We cannot be celebrating the Cosafa Cup success with players like Khama Billiat, a former Caf African Player of the Year runner-up. We know what he is capable of and instead we should be unearthing another Khama gem at such a tournament.
“I remember at one time, then Warriors coach Charles Mhlauri travelled to South Africa for the Cosafa Cup with players playing in the domestic league.
“I remained at the National Sports Stadium with another national team comprising local-based players, which included Quincy Antipas, to feature in an international Independence Day match.
“Both teams triumphed with a lot of positives noted, there wasn’t any foreign-based player in those two teams and people celebrated depth.
“Even as a coach then you will know you are grooming some players. But, unfortunately, at the moment our junior policy is not that good.
“There isn’t clear integration of players from the Under-17 right up to the Under-23 teams. These should be the feeder teams into the senior team.’’
He said when he was appointed Young Warriors coach last year, he had a programme to groom young players.
His team failed to win or draw a single match and crashed to heavy losses, including a 5-1 thrashing by Malawi, at the Cosafa Under-17 tournament in Mauritius last year.
“I had a programme to work with the Under-17 players but these things are frustrating. You get into camp less than a week in preparation for a tournament.
“You don’t have a contract and neither do you get the necessary support. But one doesn’t want to always talk about these issues because you will be branded the enemy of the institution yet you will be merely stating facts,’’ said Chunga.
Warriros’ coach Sunday Chidzambwa, however, insisted that winning the Cosafa Cup was not his mission but it would be a bonus.
Chidzambwa said he needed the games to see how some of his key players, including Billiat who had not played for the Warriors in more than one-and-half years, would blend in the team.
The coach said this was his best opportunity to look at some of the players he will use for the Afcon qualifiers which resume in September.
With the World Cup set to dominate the football landscape until next month, Chidzambwa said there would be little time to look at some of his players in competitive matches ahead of their Afcon games.