Collin Matiza Sports Editor
FORMER Zimbabwe international soccer stars Kelvin Mushangazhike and Shingi Kawondera are now partners in a football venture which will see them scouting for talented players in this country and recommending them to European clubs.
Mushangazhike and Kawondera recently told The Herald that their main aim was to identify as many talented young players as they could and introduce them to professional football in Europe.
They are also working together with Belgium-based former CAPS United United and Dynamos left-back Cephas Chimedza.
“In fact, we have identified two brilliant players from Warren Park D-based social league side Voyage Dee FC, and if all goes well, we would like to take them to Belgium during the second transfer window in January.
“The owner of Voyage Dee FC is very passionate about junior football and we would like to work hand in hand with him in identifying talented players from Warren Park D. In fact, there are a lot of talented players in that area.
“We are also working together with Cephas Chimedza, who is now based in Belgium, and he wants us to identify young, talented players from Zimbabwe whom we think will make the grade in Belgian football.
“In fact, we have seen that there’s this tendency of taking some of our talented players to South Africa where the teams there are not interested in developing these players’ talents.
“They just go there (to South Africa), play for a few seasons and they get dumped along the way, which we think is not good or fair for our players.
“So, our major drive is to try and open the European market for these players because in Europe, clubs there are more serious when it comes to developing talented players and we think this is the only way to go for us as Zimbabweans.
“And that is why we are now out there looking for talent and we hope this will also help in Zimbabwe becoming one of the soccer powerhouses in Africa,” Mushangazhike and Kawondera said.
Mushangazhike once plied his trade in South Africa, where he featured for that country’s Premiership giants Kaizer Chiefs before he had brief stints with Vietnamese and Mozambican clubs, while Kawondera started his career at the now-defunct local Premier Soccer League side Darryn T in 1997 after he was discovered by Polish coach Wieslaw Grabowski.
This later saw Kawondera playing for Polish club Gornik Zabrze between 1999 and 2002, before signing for Cypriot First Division outfit AEP Paphos in 2005. He also played for Turkish club Gaziantepspor in 2006.
Kawondera was later to join South African Premiership outfit Supersport United, but in July 2007, he signed a two-year contract with the Cypriot club AEK Larnaca. However, in January 2008, he moved to Nea Salamina in the same country before his career was cut short by a debilitating knee injury.
And now Kawondera and Mushangazhike have turned themselves into football scouts, hoping to unearth “raw talent” in Zimbabwe and exporting the players to European clubs.