Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
FORMER Dynamos captain Desmond Maringwa says there is need to look at the bigger picture when it comes to competitions involving young athletes and do away with the win-at-all-cost mentality.
Maringwa was part of the Copa Coca-Cola Legends team that took on the Zvishavane Legends at this year’s edition of the tournament.
The schools event, held in Zvishavane, celebrated its 30th edition this year.
Several players who participated in this competition and went on to break into major leagues, locally and abroad, have acknowledged the role it played in shaping their careers.
Maringwa, now the Footballers’ Union of Zimbabwe president, said there is need to understand the ultimate goal of the event, which is development.
“I would want to congratulate them for the 30 years that they have garnered so far.
“I think we are also part and parcel of this spectacle, some years back we were still at school,” said Maringwa.
“And we know we are kind of reliving those years back then, when we used to play and it was fun.
“Yes, there may be one or two grey areas that are there, but also those challenges are always there in sport and they need to overcome them.
“But the bigger picture is the development of the youngsters and that is very important.
“I think the most important thing that people need to know, and the schools also need to know, that it’s all about development.
“Development is not about winning, it’s about giving an opportunity to the youngsters so that they are all able to play and enjoy and look forward to showcasing what they are able to do.”
The former Dynamos captain said over the years, the tournament has managed to provide a platform for young players to display their skills.
“Every year you see different talent, these youngsters are full of energy, they are full of talent.
“For us, as legends, we also have picked up one or two talented players that we can also take to other junior academies that are good so that they nurture them going forward.
“I think that would be important.”
Artwell Mukandi, who lifted the Copa Coca-Cola trophy in 2007 with Pamushana High School, shared the same sentiments on development.
“The sponsors are doing this for the kids so, at the end of the day, what is important is the development of the kids.
“It’s not just about winning, being champions.
“Yes, we come here, the young players come here with a goal to win, but the most important thing is the development of the kids.
“I would want to encourage all the leaders of these kids to shun things like age-cheating because it actually kills football,” said Mukandi.