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Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
FORMER Highlanders coach Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu is convinced the Shield-Chelsea talent search has not only benefitted players, but also the officials who have been involved in the landmark campaign.
The search ends today.
Zulu, a veteran on the domestic front, is part of four local coaches — Callisto Pasuwa, Naison Muchekela and Alois Bunjira — who have also been spearheading the talent search since April.
The talent search saw the coaches coming up with a group of 35 players after holding trials in Bulawayo and Harare.
However, 34 went into a boot camp last Friday in Harare for the final selection as one of the participants could not make it.
From the group, one lucky individual will get the opportunity to travel to England and train at Chelsea’s world-class facilities.
The winner will be part of the Africa XI side that will feature in an exhibition match against the Chelsea Legends.
The local coaches were joined by their counterparts from Chelsea, Laurence Griffin, Antony Myers, Steve O’ Reilly who arrived in the country on Tuesday for the final assessment.
The visiting coaches got down to business yesterday taking charge of the training sessions at Belgravia Sports Club.
“In life there is where you are a student, you can’t be a teacher all the time. There are situations where you are a student, there are situations where you are a teacher and learning,’’ said Zulu.
‘’We are grateful to Unilever for giving us these international coaches because we are going to learn a lot of things.
‘’But the key thing is whatever we are going to learn now we are going to use that knowledge to help the players and those players will also help others when they become coaches.’’
Addressing the players during a media briefing at the same venue, Griffin said they were here to make as much impact as they can towards the development of local football.
“What we are looking to do while we are here is we want to inspire, to motivate and also to help support the development of football across Zimbabwe.
“So you the young gentlemen sitting in this room with us are globe ambassadors for Chelsea and also for Shield because the experiences that you will take in the next few days will last a lifetime,” said Griffin.
Unilever managing director, Hilary Muzondiwa, said they were excited about the campaign.
‘’Chelsea has been around since 1905, you have got 113 years of world class football experience that has been transported to you,’’ he said. ‘’For me, the bonus is the one player that is going to make it into the Africa XI that’s going to go to Cobham.
‘’But the real prize is what you are able to download, the real prize is the life-changing experience that this whole process is going to bring.
“And my encouragement to the boys is that these next two days, just like the last four days, you give it your all.
“You open your ears, you open your eyes and you learn and you demonstrate that you have the capacity and capability to learn. And by so doing you would have made Chelsea very proud.’’