Phiri hails Under-14 tourney


Former Warriors defender John Phiri has hailed the Zimbabwe Junior Football League (ZJFL) for organising a just-ended junior national tournament that culminated in the selection of the Under-14 national team, a first of its kind in the history of Zimbabwean football.

The Zivanai “Zifa” Chiyangwa-led ZJFL association organised the tournament which attracted 10 teams drawn from the country’s 10 provinces. Fifty outstanding players were selected from the tournament by a selection committee panel which were chaired by Phiri. Other prominent faces that sat on the panel are Moses Chunga, former Warriors striker Luke Petros, Gift Kagogola of Aces Youth Academy and Allan Maphila, a former Dynamos winger.

Phiri heaped praise on the initiative, saying this was the first step towards reviving the country’s football fortunes.

“The junior development is one area that had been dead for a long time now,” said Phiri. “With what we have seen in this tournament, it’s a field loaded with talent. The future looks bright for us. We have come up with a list of players who we believe the junior coaches should concentrate on and work with. For the past 15 years or so we have ignored the junior development, which is the main reason our senior teams have been poor. Our attitude towards the youth policy has been wrong all along and the results are there for everyone to see. Hats off to Chiyangwa for coming up with such an initiative, this is where the future of our football lies.Sponsors should now come in and help him by providing funds and facilities so that this thing continues,” added Phiri.
The two-day tournament which started on Friday and ended on Saturday at Gwanzura Stadium saw Harare Province clinching the title after beating Bulawayo 1-0 in the final.