Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
CHINA-BASED junior football expert Walter Musanhu says Zimbabwe can become one of the greatest footballing countries in the world if they tap into the vast pool of junior talent at the right time.
Musanhu runs a hugely successful junior nursery, Jadel Football Academy in China, which he launched in August.
And on Saturday, the football enthusiast officially launched the local version of the academy with an exciting four-team Under-15 tournament at Belgravia Sports Club in Harare.
Kadoma’s CUMA, BN Academy, Jadel and Inter-Harare battled it out for the honours which CUMA clinched, courtesy of a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Jadel in the final.
The match had finished in a 2-2 tie in regulation time.
And Musanhu, who officially commissioned the new Jadel project in Harare, was impressed lot after the tournament.
“The zeal, the passion and the desire shown by the youngsters in this tournament speaks volumes of what we could be sitting on as a country.
“The tournament wouldn’t have been any better than this. The talent which needs just a bit of investment in terms of time and maybe a few dollars is vast. Junior football development is definitely the cure to the talent crisis we are facing as a country at competitive level,” said Musanhu.
“There are a lot of good players at this age group in Zimbabwe. The onus is with the authorities and even self-driven individuals to help fine-tune the junior players’ technical and tactical abilities.
“We are certainly sitting on a gold mine, at least judging from what I observed in this tournament. The youngsters are quite competitive and they like what they were doing. It is my humble call to everyone to play their role in taking our football to the next level,” Musanhu said.
He added: “Sport is about the connection, the unity and the fun. If you don’t enjoy it, you can’t win it. If you can’t focus and connect, you can’t drive it. In sport no matter how bad things go, your heart and mind should carry your body when your limbs are too weak. A champion is whom you are. It is a passion, an engagement. If you are engaged then you will know what it is to win.
“Winning is not a once-off thing, it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit, it has to become your second nature. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, the ability to triumph begins with you always. And winning in life starts here. Great moments are born from great opportunity, and that’s what Jadel is here to provide to Zimbabwean youngsters. We are grateful and we thank the Lord we had an opportunity to start this project and here is a tournament to kick start the project.”
Musanhu also indicated that he will soon launch another Jadel Football Academy in Ghana with the help of his Ghanaian friend Anarfi Joshua Kweku.
“Anarfi Joshua Kweku is also doing most of the administrative work on the Beijing academy and he is from Ghana. So, I’m also targeting to launch the same project in Ghana to market for the Jadel FC Under-15 elite in that country.” Sports medicine guru Nicholas Munyonga, Dynamos goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya and the former Motor Action duo of Prince Matore and Salim Milanzi graced the occasion at Belgravia Sports Club on Saturday.
Young Tashinga Machacha of CUMA, who netted five goals in three games, landed the Golden Boot accolade while Jadel’s Charlton Jingamatora won the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award.
The impressive Shelton Munetsi of CUMA won the Player of the Tournament crown while the Fair Play award went to BN Academy. Musanhu said Jadel Academy will be twinned with his China project and several players will move to the Asian country as well as across the globe in the coming few years.
“We are developing contacts and it is our hope that we will be shipping talent across the world in the coming years. We are hoping to make this academy (Jadel) the parent nursery as we intend to spread across the world.
“I’m doing the project with the help of my brother Chamu (who is based in Liverpool, England). We will target the elite players with a mind to revive Zimbabwean football. We will also be targeting the Asian market and other European countries while in Zimbabwe we will have the support of Doctor Munyonga and Prince Matore on the ground,” Musanhu said.