Bafana finds another Zimbabwean gem Sam Mutenheri Jnr on far right.

Langton Nyakwenda

RENOWNED football scout, Eric Bafana, who is credited for scouting Tino Kadewere and was strongly behind the Zimbabwean striker’s first foreign move, has been impressed by another local footballer.

Bafana, who works for Diambars Academy in South Africa, was blown away by Alimenda Stephen Academy (ASA) product Sam Mutenheri Junior when the 17-year-old forward went for trials with the famous academy in December.

Mutenheri, who is named after his father and former Dynamos left back, finally joined Diambars Academy early this month and made his debut last Friday night.

“The boy is doing very well, he is very promising and has that hunger for success,” Bafana told Zimpapers Sport.

Bafana is credited for discovering Kadewere when the forward was still turning out for Castle Lager Premier Soccer League side Harare City in 2015.

He then recommended Kadewere to his bosses at Diambars who in turn facilitated a move to Swedish club IF Djurgardens.

Kadewere would rise up the ladder with subsequent moves to French sides Le Havre, Lyon and Nantes.

Mutenheri’s move to Diambars South Africa is now seen as the beginning of what could turn out to be another big opportunity for a Zimbabwean starlet.

“For him (Mutenheri) moving from Zimbabwe to SA is a stepping stone,” says Bafana.

“The boy is here for further assessment and if we are happy then we will send videos overseas to different clubs.

“The clips will pass through our bosses in Senegal and France. The possibilities are there for the player to get a chance to play in France, Belgium or Sweden.

“If he impresses, anytime from October he can catch a flight to Europe.

“I am the scout for Southern Africa, so whenever I see talent I am sponsored to go there and have a look, if I am satisfied I have to recommend to Diambars technical staff, that’s how Mutenheri ended up here,” added Bafana.

Diambars Academy has its headquarters in Senegal and is one of the best football factories in Africa.

By extension, the famous academy now has links with ASA, a Harare-based football nursery that was founded by former Dynamos captain Stephen Alimenda.

“We are happy for Sam (Mutenheri), it’s not easy to make the grade at this level,” Alimenda said.

“Our products are now being recognized internationally and it’s good for Zimbabwean football.”

Alimenda Stephen Academy is based in Harare’s high-density suburb of Glen Norah.

With no sound sponsorship, the academy operates on a shoestring budget.

“We have little resources but we are trying,” says Alimenda.

Alimenda’s academy scouts for players across the country.

Currently, they have players from Kanyemba, Mt Darwin and Victoria Falls on their books.

“We face challenges in terms of accommodation for boys from outside Harare.

“But, these boys from outside Harare are brilliant.

“Ezekiel Chikuwe and Talent Nyamangara from Kanyemba are very promising,” said Alimenda.

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