Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
IT runs in the blood.His father travelled the same path with distinction and now it’s Akim Abdul’s turn to prove himself after he was called to the national Under-23 side that is preparing for an All-Africa Games qualifier against Cameroon later this month. Akim is son to former CAPS United and Warriors goalkeeper Abdul Karim Abdul. His father was a goalkeeper of note during the Golden Era of Zimbabwean football in the 90s where he had to fight for recognition in a decade dominated by the likes of Bruce Grobbelaar, Brenna Msiska, Ernest Chirambadare, Peter Fanwell, Emmanuel Nyahuma, Gift Muzadzi, Obey Murefu and George Mudiwa.
Just like his father, Akim has played football from a young age. Since he has spent most of his time in Australia, he is not known to many Zimbabweans.
However, his father rates him highly as he has been in the grassroots structures with different Australian junior football teams for a long time.
“I’m proud of him,” said Karim.
“He is still young and it’s good for him as a player to get this chance to play for the national team. He has been playing a lot of football and recently was training with Australia’s A-League side Melbourne City.
“Football wise I cannot say much. He has to prove himself but I am not worried about his technique and knowledge of the game because he has been through a rigorous school system here in Australia.
“He was enrolled at Maribyrnong College, which is a school sponsored by the government to produce the best in terms of athletes and academics.
“He has also been to England where he trained with some clubs and played a couple of games.
“I think the level he is at the moment is more advanced than where I was at his age because of the exposure and opportunities he is getting. He has moved around because as parents we are always looking for the best for our kids.”
Akim plays for lower division side Sunshine Dodges in Australia.
Although their season is still in it’s infancy, with only four games played to date, Karim said he hoped the younger goalkeeper will cope.
He is one of the two new goalkeepers that the technical team intend to have a look at ahead of the All Africa Games assignment. Zimbabwe will host Cameroon in the first leg of the final round of qualifiers on the weekend of 21-22 March.
Harare City’s youthful goalminder Tatenda Gwademba was also called at the expense of Dynamos’ new recruit Tonderai Mateyaunga, who was part of the training squad that was called last month for the abortive first round clash against Swaziland. The winner of the tie will advance to the 2015 All Africa Games to be staged in Brazzaville from September 4-19.
Akim and Gwademba will have to impress the coaches if they are to get the nod ahead of regulars Donovan Bernard of How Mine and Dynamos’ Tatenda Mukuruva.
“He has the confidence. He has told me that dad, I don’t want to walk in your footsteps. I want to surpass what you achieved, I want to be a great goalkeeper. I can only wish him well as a parent.
“I told him that he has to go out there and do what he has to do. At the end of the day it’s about your commitment, determination and hard work.
“Coming from Australia doesn’t mean that you will automatically get a place in the team. You will have to work hard for it and try as much to stay focused,” said Karim.
The former Warriors international is now running a goalkeepers’ academy in Australia, in addition to being a goalkeeping consultant with three top clubs Down Under.