Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
TEAM Zimbabwe-UK chief executive, Marshal Gore, says the organisation plans to grow their influence in the Diaspora following the success of the recent tour by an Under-23 football team.
Gore was excited by the “amazing support” they got and were now looking to make the event an annual occasion to rope in more talented players with the hope of getting them to play for their fatherland.
“This was just the beginning and the response we got here was overwhelming,’’ said Gore.
“We hope to bring a bigger squad next year. What we intend to do is to ensure that we continue to publicise and raise awareness of this initiative.
“Maybe, what we will also do is to look at the quality, and the level they are playing, and we are going to prioritise according to that.
“At the end of the day, we are trying to harvest the best talent that we have for the benefit of the nation.
“So, if the response next year is overwhelming, we may be forced to raise the bar as part of the criteria for eligibility so that we tap into the cream that we want.’’
The initiative is meant to give young Zimbabwean players, either born or raised in Europe or America, a chance to showcase their football talents and, possibly, fight for inclusion in the national teams.
The initiative was endorsed by the Government, through Vice President Kembo Mohadi, who encouraged the national football authorities to take the initiative seriously.
The visiting team played a couple of friendly matches with local opposition and today Gore is expected to have a review meeting with the ZIFA officials before returning to the UK.
So far, players like Tendayi Darikwa and Alec Mudimu have committed to the national team through their efforts.
“We are here to support the development of football in Zimbabwe and we will continue to do the work we are doing, that is, to scout and hunt for talent in the Diaspora and introduce it to Zimbabwe.
“Obviously, it’s up to the national team technical department to pick these players, based on merit.
“We don’t want these players to be included in the team just because they are from the UK. They must show that they deserve to be in the team.”
Gore said they are also keen to support Government and communities on the community development projects with the help of their stakeholders in the United Kingdom.
They also worked with ZTA who facilitated the visit of the Under-23 players to the Great Zimbabwe to learn more about their history and culture.
ZTA will make a documentary on the tour.
They also visited Chinyaradzo Children’s Home in Harare and unveiled a borehole in Hwedza. The group donated football kits to two schools in Silobela.