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Date: 24 March 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Zim into COSAFA Final, BUT...

[Posted 18 Jul 2013]
Warriors celebrating Tendai Ndoro"s goal in a 2-1 semi-final win over Lesotho
Last night the locally based Zimbabwe football players easily beat Lesotho 2-1 at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium to book a place in the final against host nation Zambia, courtesy of a Tendai Ndoro brace. However, despite their two victories, questions have remained over the physical condition of the players.

Chicken Inn goal poacher and current leading top scorer in the Catsle Lager Premier Soccer League with 11 goals out of 16 matches, Ndoro demonstrated his sheer talent, and natural goal poaching instinct by turning defenders twice in the box to score two priceless goals for the Warriors.

Just like it was in the quarter-final tie against Malawi, the sight of Warriors players being bundled to the ground easily and losing the second ball each time told of players who are clearly lacking in terms of match fitness.

Comparatively, Zimbabwe has bigger players at the COSAFA tournament than most of the nations. In Felix Chindungwe, Tendai Ndoro, Prosper Matizanadzo, Charles Sibanda, Maxwell Nyamupanedengu, Last Chibwiro, Lot Chiwuya, Eric Chipeta, Zimbabwe boast some of the tallest and biggest players at the tournament.

It is disappointing to see that the smaller South African players or Namibian players looked in better condition than the Warriors. One wonders if at all clubs make use of gym facilities in the country. Surely it cannot be that the country does not Gym clubs in the major cities.

The training methods at the clubs have understandably come under spotlight with the current national team coaches questioning the training methods employed by the clubs.

"Our clubs in Zimbabwe also need to improve on their training methods so that our players can compete better in such tournaments," Warriors outgoing coach Klaus Dieter Pagels moaned following the 2-1 semi-final victory over Lesotho's Crocodiles.

Looking at the bright side of things, it is clear to neutral observers that Zimbabwe is teeming with talent. The coaches were restricted to selecting only two players from each PSL club to avoid disrupting the local league, which runs between March and November.

The players on display at the COSAFA tournament in Zambia may not be the cream of the crop in the local premiership. Certainly it cannot be gainsaid  that the central defensive trio of Matizanadzo, Chindungwe and Chipeta are better than the likes of Augustine Mbara and Patson Jaure of Dynamos, or even Daniel Veremu of FC Platinum.

There are  also strikers left out of the squad who could easily walk into the starting line-up. Such strikers include the reigning Golden Boot winner from last season Nelson Maziwisa of FC Platinum, Washington Pakamisa of Dynamos, Osborne Mukuradare of Harare City or even young Dominc Chungwa of CAPS United. Even the likes of Ishmael Lawe of Monomotapa or the revived Njabulo Ncube of Highlanders could make the squad. 

It is unfortunate that the PSL in Zimbabwe is active during the time of staging the COSAFA. One cannot exactly blame the PSL authorities for restricting the selection of players to only two players per club. What needs to be done is to re-think the Zimbabwean soccer season. Does it really make sense to maintain the March to November season? Is it not time to move to the August to May season? These are questions which our football authorities have to find answers to.

In addition to the above questions, the PSL leadership should standardise the training methods at PSL clubs in the interest of the national soccer team. A club should at least employ fitness trainers to ensure that the conditioning of players is up to acceptable standards.

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