Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
THERE is a belief among some football fans that the likes of Kuda Mahachi and Marvelous Nakamba may never have played topflight football had they stayed at their boyhood club Highlanders.
This is because the fading giants have of late shown a clear reluctance to give their junior development structures a chance to flourish.
For example, their third choice goalkeeper Reward Muza is a former youth international, who represented Zimbabwe in the VW Under-13 tournament in Poland in 2012.
Football folklore has it that when Muza was the Bulawayo Province Under-14 keeper back in the day, some Harare academy owners tipped him as a future national team goalkeeper and wanted him to keep him in the capital and become part of their project.
At 23, Muza is the same age as Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnaruma, who made his international debut aged 17 years.
But while his age mate Donnaruma, the Paris St Germain shot stopper, has since become one of the best keepers in the world, Muza is still considered inexperienced by his coaches at Highlanders.
What boggles the mind though, is that a younger goalkeeper, Raphael Pitisi, has since been brought in as first choice keeper Ariel Sibanda’s understudy.
Muza’s case is just one of numerous examples of how Bosso disregard youngsters and then import players from other teams.
Sunday’s 0-1 loss to Bulawayo City tore to shreds the argument that upcoming players are let go because they are not good enough, after inspired performances by former Bosso 90 players Vincent Moyo and Dominic Jaricha helped
City pick up their first set of full points this season.
Moyo wore the captain’s armband and managed to counter all Bosso raids.
He had big striker Stanley Ngala in his pocket the whole afternoon.
Jaricha, on the other hand, had a solid display in midfield, while Dalubuhle Dlodlo also played a good cameo role after being introduced as a substitute.
Highlanders’ coach Mandla Mpofu admitted they had been hurt by their own.
“It was not going to be easy because this was a derby and they have a lot of our former players, which made things more difficult,” he said.
The biggest issue is that there is no link between the head coach and Bosso 90 for players to be monitored and blooded into the senior team.
The head coach needs to be in constant touch with what is happening at Bosso 90.
Bosso 90 is currently losing, but it’s not a problem because their coach Melusi Sibanda is using right aged players and is developing them well.
All, but one Bosso 90 players are under the age of 20 and focus should be on development rather than results.
History shows that Highlanders’ focus on junior player and talent development was undoubtedly the reason for the club’s dominance in topflight football at the turn of the century.
A number of stars emerged from the much-adored policy, with its last collective achievement in the team’s memory being the pool that won the last league championship for the club in 2006.
Some products of that adored junior system include the likes of Thulani ‘Biya’ Ncube, Johannes Ngodzo, Siza Khoza, Gift Lunga Jr, Melusi Sibanda, Zenzo Moyo, Noel Kaseke, Honour Gombami and Simon Sibanda, among others.
These players won four consecutive league titles for Bosso, but since then, the youth football structures at the club have been on the wane.Focus seems to have now shifted to attaining the elusive instant success through acquisitions of aged players, whose better days are well behind them.
There seems to be desperation among the club’s top echelons to land the league title that they are even willing to buy success instead of putting solid development structures to guarantee long-term success just like when they won four successive league titles.
For as long as junior development structures are ignored, Bosso may as well forget about reviving their fast fading giant status. – @innocentskizoe
Article Source: The Chronicle