They are not ripe enough yet

IndependentSport View with Darlington Majonga


THE whirl over Esrom Nyandoro’s £1 million move overseas has quickly subsided after English Premiership newcomers Sheffield United apparently looked right through the Zimbabwe international last week.


G>There’s no doubt Nyandoro is one of the best players Zimbabwe boast but his failure to make the grade in England could be yet another frank reminder that no Zimbabwean footballers at the moment are good enough for the top football leagues of the world.

Yet the media over the years has chosen to blatantly abdicate duty and abuse readers by laying false claims why Zimbabwean players fail to make it.

It’s absolutely scandalous that, as the many decades gone by can evince, sports journalists have been gullible enough to accept and feed the public the flimsy excuses all players who fail trials concoct.

It’s a big relief the latest yarn on Nyandoro’s failure hasn’t been the racism twaddle other players and the media have peddled over the years.

We have been spared yet the cant that Nyandoro doesn’t have enough national team caps to qualify for a British work permit.

So too have we not been told yet that Sheffield had already exhausted their foreign quota that they could not take the Zimbabwe anchorman on board.

What we haven’t been told is that Nyandoro failed to impress Sheffield manager Neil Warnock when he was given a chance to stake for a Blades contract in a hastily arranged friendly at Scarborough last Thursday.

Probably Nyandoro would argue he wasn’t given enough time to showcase his talent — but that alone could be an indicator Sheffield were not really interested in the Zimbabwean.

Two years ago no one was honest enough as well to tell us why Joel Luphahla failed to make it at the same Sheffield United when the club were still in division one.

We were only convinced that Luphahla was not good enough for English soccer after he failed prove himself at South Africa’s SuperSport.

At least for now, we have to be honest to ourselves and admit no other Zimbabwean player except Benjani Mwaruwari is ripe enough yet for the English premiership or any other top European league.

It must be cause for concern that Zimbabwe’s top players are even failing to acquit themselves in less demanding leagues in Europe.

Shingi Kawondera’s escapades in Europe make a worrying profile of one of Zimbabwe’s brightest prospects. The Warriors striker has not been honest enough to tell us why he had to cut short his stay at Turkish side Gaziantepspor barely four months into a reported two-year contract.

We only hope we are spared another round of propaganda should Kawondera’s bid to join SuperSport fall through again.

We have also done a disservice to readers on the real story behind Cephas Chimedza and Brian Badza’s premature departure from Belgium last year.

It’s a pity you can get any excuse you want, but that our players are simply not good enough to make the grade in any major football leagues of the world.

When Ndlovu was told to pack his bags at Sheffield, “they don’t know what a good striker is”, or he was being overpaid and the club wanted to reduce costs.

There were also tales about Norman Mapeza impressing at trials in England but failing to get a work permit. Benjamin Nkonjera was there and so was Adam Ndlovu. The story has been the same: a good excuse why our players can’t make it.

Only last year Honour Gombami was at Chesterfield in England as well but we were told he didn’t have enough national team caps to get a work permit. For goodness sake, why would the English clubs waste their time and resources trying a player they know would not get a work permit?

Nigerian Mikel Obi, for example, has not played more than 10 times for his country but he is already on English champions Chelsea’s books. So the issue is: if a club really wants a foreign player, they would do everything possible to get him a work permit.

If anything, Nyandoro’s failure to break into the English top-flight league should serve as a big lesson to all the players who harbour ambitions to play in the world’s best leagues.

Unless all those who aspire to move overseas — to proper leagues of course — are not as exceptionally talented as Peter Ndlovu, the best they can do towards fulfilling their dreams is to market themselves via smaller leagues in Europe.

Mwaruwari, the only Zimbabwean playing at the top level, started his European adventure in Switzerland before a stint at French side Auxerre finally opened a window for his break into England.

It’s been the same story with other African stars in England such as Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, El Hadji Diouf and Kolo Toure, to name but a few.

dmajonga@yahoo.com