Saturday, May 28, 2022

Zebras no go area for young players

Many countries around the world introduce young players into their senior national teams’ set-up.
Young players are seen as long term investment for teams and, as such, once introduced early they can be terrific players. Other players are introduced before they even turn twenty.

There are many examples of players who started in the senior national teams while very young and went on to become great players.

A typical example is Brazilian Ronaldo who had an illustrious soccer career after starting when he was around 17 years.

In Botswana this seems to be a problem because most players break into the senior national team while already in their mid twenties. Even in the current senior national team there are few players who also feature for national junior teams.

Although the senior national team has been doing well of late and made history by qualifying for their maiden appearance for 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) the issue of giving promising youngsters a chance has always been there.

Coach Stanley Tshosane has since made it clear that introducing youthful players in the senior team is a process and people have to be patient. Botswana booked their place for 2012 AFCON with two matches to spare and some people still think young players should be given a chance.

Two weeks ago when Botswana played against Malawi, coach Tshosane still preferred to stick to his usual players.

Some countries like Ghana went to 2010 AFCON with youthful players with an age average of 22 and they went all the way to the finals where they were beaten by Egypt by a solitary goal.

Latter the same year, Ghana went as far as the quarter finals of the World Cup with their full strength squad.

On the other hand, national Under 23 coach, Daniel Nare, blames the development structure of the country saying it does not favour the senior team.

“It is easy for other countries to easily introduce young players into the senior national team but not in Botswana. First and foremost, countries have their renowned style of play and players find it easy to move through the ranks regardless of the coach. In Botswana we do not have a uniform style of play and every coach comes up with his own,” he said.

Nare also added that the inactivity of junior teams is also a problem because players end up lacking endurance.

“Most youth tournaments come once in four years and our teams are normally knocked out early. From there they are dormant while other countries are active. This then means once we are knocked out from another tournament we have to wait for another four years,” he said.

Another problem that Nare sees as impacting negatively into the early introduction of young players is lack of full time coaches for junior teams. He said if there was a full time coach it could be better because players would always be together.

“If there were full time coaches for Under 17, 20 and 23 they would always be in touch with the senior national team coach. But here once the teams are dormant, the coach also goes instead of letting him continue and build a new team. Let’s just hope that in future things will improve,” he said.


Read this week's paper