Young Warriors selection in tatters

Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
AS France bask in World Cup glory after they got the better of Croatia in the final in Russia on Sunday, having largely been helped by players with African origins, Zimbabwe continue to be weighed down by challenges to woo some of her best footballers from the   Diaspora.

The Young Warriors are in Mauritius where they are scheduled to take part in the COSAFA Championships which gets underway this weekend.

But it is the chaotic nature in which the selection was conducted that has left the whole process in tatters.

Although most of the players, who had been selected to represent the country couldn’t be part of the team as they didn’t have travel documents, it has emerged the technical team, headed by Tafadzwa Mashiri, snubbed offers from a United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean coach Philip Zulu for Under-17 players who were willing to join camp.

Zulu, who is the head coach at an academy in Leeds in the UK, engaged Mashiri and his backroom staff with both parties agreeing that the former facilitates the movement of the UK-based players for the camp.

The players’ parents even offered to foot the travel expenses for their children as they were eager to see them representing Zimbabwe.

But Zulu’s efforts were frustrated as Mashiri went on to select only locally-based players for the squad he travelled with to Mauritius.

There are allegations that junior national team coaches connive to select only players from local academies in return for “favours” at the expense of national football development.

Zulu yesterday warned it is unfortunate developments which, in the long run, result in players snubbing their countries to represent other European countries.

“All the parents are actually waiting for a full detailed account of what transpired and how the coach conducted himself during the course of the selection and planning process,” said Zulu.

“One thing we would like to make very clear to them is that, the results in Mauritius will be a full responsibility of him (Mashiri) and the technical director.

“The posts that these guys hold are public offices that require professional dispensation of duties without favour, fear, segregation or underhand activities, hence our firm belief that serving Zimbabwe at junior national team level is a natural right under the full scope, inscription and pronouncements of the Constitution of the land.

“We are not demanding anything, but we are simply abiding by the Constitutional dictates that extol us to be part of the national engagement through due diligent processes of forthright and favour rigorous selection.

“We are Zimbabweans who have contributed immensely to the development of our country’s sport using meagre personal resources over here in the UK and to be treated like we are second-class citizens is not on.

“We are fully aware of our birth right legalities that constitutionally govern every human being that naturally belongs to the heritage of Zimbabwe.”

Zulu said it is scenarios like these which often result in cases where African players end up representing European teams.

“At least France have the guts to admit and say, ‘We need them as part of our highest ambitions’, surely our situation back home is so embarrassing and why we don’t                                                                                  learn.

“It was just our sober attempt to help rebuild our ailing standards of all national teams starting with the junior national teams (Under-17s) that will automatically form the core of the future senior teams.

“We have engaged them for almost two weeks and they (Under-17 coaches) gave us the guarantees that our boys are invited to come and join camp.

“We asked them to put everything in writing (and) they didn’t do so in time, only to find the names of the selected squad today (yesterday) when we were busy preparing.

“This is very unfair, biased, unilateral and very segregating,” Zulu said.

No comment could be obtained from Mashiri as he is currently away with the squad for the Cosafa  tournament.

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