Bambo slams age-cheating

01 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Bambo slams age-cheating SHOOTING STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP . . . Former Zimbabwe international striker Moses “Bambo” Chunga believes age-cheating could be a thing of the past in Zimbabwe if football administrators play the ball.

The Herald

Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE football legend Moses “Bambo’’ Chunga says the age-cheating scourge which has been allowed to go on for a long time on the domestic football scene could be a thing of the past if there was serious commitment from all stakeholders. 

Chunga, who is famous for his “Kidsnet” project at Dynamos in the mid-2000s, is back in the development trenches with his Moses Bambo Chunga Academy which he hopes to use as a model for grassroots football development. 

But the 56-year-old is worried by the deep-seated problems of age-cheating which have resurfaced on the domestic football scene almost every time junior tournaments take place. 

Zimbabwe suffered the ignominy of being kicked out of the COSAFA Under-17 tournament after some players failed age tests. 

And, recently giants Dynamos were embarrassed at the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba tournament in Bulawayo where they were disqualified despite having finished top of their group with a 100 percent winning record. 

But without referencing any of the two gaffes in particular, Bambo yesterday told The Herald that age-cheating is totally unacceptable.

“Sometimes I feel like laughing when we talk about age-cheating in this era. But it’s a pity because this thing has been going on since time immemorial. 

“It’s in human nature to cheat, the human species is good at that but since we are the ones doing it we are also capable of fixing it. Age-cheating has to stop if we want the best for our children. We make them accomplices in our acts of dishonesty. 

“But I have an idea which I think can help. We can do it the easy way, let’s say by normalising what looks abnormal. In the future tournaments to be hosted by the Moses Bambo Chunga Academy, each team will be allowed two over-aged players in every age-group. 

“Even at the Olympics where the national Under-23 teams play, it is allowed. If you continue to have an appetite to cheat under such an arrangement, then you need your head to be examined. Tougher sanctions should be given against people who use unsuspecting kids to promote that vice,” said Chunga.

There have been cases in which players were accused of using documents of their younger siblings to cheat their way into junior football tournaments while others have apparently connived with their guardians, coaches, teachers and even officials from the Registry department to alter birth records. 

Chunga is famed for getting the best out of young players with one of his success stories being the “Kidsnet’’ project with Dynamos, which gave a lot of talented youngsters an opportunity to blossom at the big stage. 

He gladly took the criticism when he led the Young Warriors on a win-less run at the COSAFA Under-17 tournament held in Mauritius in 2017. 

Even then, Chunga decried the age-cheating at most of the regional tournaments, including that same edition after losing to Zambia, Botswana and Malawi. Chunga, who was named coach barely a month before the tournament, was strict with age in his team selection. 

“If you look at Malawi and Zambia, they are like our players whom we left behind at home since they did not meet the criteria. Their calves are heavily built, their physique and knowledge of football is more advanced. 

“And you will see that in this case, the Under-17 tournament merely becomes the name of the tournament,” he said then. 

Chunga, who recently left his job at ZIFA Central Region side Chapungu United, has returned to follow his passion with the Moses Bambo Chunga Academy. The academy, which runs by the motto “Together we can’’, is set to reopen its doors tomorrow after the lengthy Covid-19 disruption. 

The academy trains at Churchill High School where they have a twinning arrangement with the school’s football teams. 

“I believe I am multi-talented, that’s why I alternate between juniors and professional teams. Remember I won the title with Gunners, a small team in the Premiership, ahead of giants like Highlanders and Dynamos. I don’t limit myself. 

“We are reviving the academy and we are happy that we have managed to find our feet again after the Covid-19 disruptions. The challenge now is to re-engage with the sponsors. 

“We work with young children from a very young age up to the stage where the player is fully developed. The aim is to go back to the time when development served as the kindergarten for the Premier Soccer League and national teams. 

“So this Saturday and Sunday at Churchill High School we will be recruiting from 9am. Then on Monday we start training with the school team. 

“We have capable coaches to work with the youngsters and we also have local football legends like Brenna Msiska and Justice Majabvi, to name a few, and many other former players coming time and again to give back to the grassroots. 

“The ultimate aim is to afford youngsters the support to live their dream. I have seen a lot of talents going to waste because they were not given the right exposure or could not get the right human resources to work on developing their talent,” said Chunga.

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