Tadious Manyepo-Sports Reporter
RENOWNED UK-based Zimbabwe Futsal and junior development coach Phillip Zulu continues to spread his footprints across the globe after the Seychelles football authorities engaged his services.
Zulu is currently coaching the Seychelles youngsters in a small outer island of La Digue since last week with the sojourn expected to end next week.
Already the Zimbabwean coach is a consultant for Seychelles football with whom he has assisted several teenage footballers sign professional contracts in European leagues, including Portugal.
And his latest mission in that country is to help enhance technical skills for young players using Futsal fundamentals. Futsal is a modified form of football played with five players per side on a smaller, typically indoor, pitch.
Zulu runs his Futsal team, Super Eagles, in the UK where he is credited with grooming some big-name players who have gone on to make it in the English Premiership and other top leagues in the world.
Speaking from Seychelles yesterday, Zulu said he feels honoured and will continue to put in more work.
“My previous visits to Seychelles have been fruitful as I managed to work with various age-groups of youngsters who are involved with the national teams of Under15-23 and the senior squad.
“A club in La Digue island invited me for further scouting and coaching programmes, I managed to recruit two (twins) of their best emerging talents to Portugal where they are slowly settling down and, they could be getting their first team debut this Sunday in the last game of the season for CD Trofense,” said Zulu.
“The appreciation of Futsal has been incredible, the passion of football is highly noticeable and the humility in learning the new sport for the very first time, is very impressive. Plans to register Super Eagles Futsal as an academy are at an advanced stage, the interest is massive and, training sessions have been conducted for the past two weeks during the school holidays that paved way for some introduction of the real games and how it’s officiated.
“It has been an intensive programme that gave every participant an opportunity to learn, adapt and play some small-sided (5v5) technical, creative and tactical games. Our continuous scouting programme is looking forward to enlist at least three more players abroad for this new season.
“Developing local talent is a major priority in this region as the competition to compete in the African Cup of Nations and other international tournaments gets intense with neighbours, Comoros and Madagascar, showing good performances in their debut to this prestigious tournament.”
Zulu said his next stop will be Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is our next destination soon, and we have some projects lined up on the ground.
“When we applied Futsal in 2010 as an integral part of developing juniors who worked with us at the time, their progress in football quickly changed as they could intrinsically execute good first touch passes, close controls, confidence in dribbling in compact areas and in 1v1, 1v 2, 1v 3 scenarios whenever the situation arises.
‘’Their understanding of the wider implications of 11 v 11 vastly improved as they produced all variations of slow, medium and high tempo in build-up of play from the back, containing and continuation of possession with good composure leading to explosive sudden offensive attacks that index great details of skill, technique and creativity.
‘’Most young Zimbabweans and other locals who enrolled in our programme went on to become established professional footballers such as Tavonga Kuleya (Doncaster Rovers), Jimmiel Chikukwa (Watford), Bolton Makwedza (formerly with Rotherham United), Bobby Kamwa (Leeds United), Clark Odour (Barnselyand Kenyan national player), Semis Idris (Sleza Wroclaw in Poland and Eritrean national team player) and many others.
“To date we have five young Zimbabweans going for different trials with top English Premiership clubs academies and, the expectation is high when looking at their quality.”