The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
SCOUTING has become part and parcel of the international football world with star players being identified at a tender age but locally the trend seems to be lagging behind.
Full time scouts are scarce in local football with coaches doubling up as scouts or getting recommendations from other coaches who are friends.
Football coach Sakheleni Nxumalo said the lack of belief in setting up scouting department within clubs was because most wanted to work alone as they felt threatened if they engaged others.
He lamented the fact coaches with an eye for talent are not being utilized by top flight clubs.
“Scouting has become an integral part of the game and we have people like Dalu Bhebhe and Dumaza Dube who have shown their astuteness is fishing out talent.
“Dalu has unearthed lots of talent from his days at Sparrows and the good thing about him is he is a modern coach who can tell you what attributes they look for when identifying talented players.
“Dumaza has football intelligence that comes with experience and in 2010 he assembled a squad that had the likes Teenage Hadebe, Lawrence Mhlanga, Lucky Ndlela, Ackim Mpofu and other boys that were part of the U15 squad that participated in the inaugural youth Olympics.
“That squad and another Highlanders one that was led by McCarthy Dube, which broke records in 2015 are teams that can be assembled by someone with an eye for scouting talent. Unfortunately, his efforts went down the drain as the club failed to keep the boys and they moved on to become stars elsewhere,” he said.
Nxumalo said former players can assume talent scout roles without seeking to be fulltime coaches.
Former senior women national team coach, Shadreck Mlauzi concurred that scouting had become an important part of the game with the best playing football talent being discovered through good scouting.
He said it was unfortunate our football system is still amateurish, with coaches who coach at junior level lacking the prerequisite skills for scouting talent for the future.
“Our scouting system, mostly composed junior club coaches is under qualified to do scouting for teams. Teams at the moment have weak scouting or virtually no scouting personnel. That’s why there is so much recycling of players in the PSL.
“We certainly need scouts in the PSL or Women football. International club scouts and domestic club scouts need to complement each other, I believe most talent goes to waste because it is not spotted,” said Mlauzi.
Bulawayo Chiefs coach, Thulani Sibanda if scouting was taken seriously Madinda Ndlovu would not be moving between clubs but would have a permanent office just for scouting.
He attributed lack of success by the national teams to failure to employ scouts stating he felt agents were behind national team selection.
“If I was Zifa president I would set up scouts in every province or region and make them responsible for identifying and unearthing talent. We need someone who will go to Magwegwe or Chitungwiza and unearth a gem unheard of before and not focus on the Premiership or Division One.
“FC Platinum will dominate in the foreseeable future because they have the financial clout to buy top players but with good scouting departments, teams like Highlanders can be at a position to counter them,” said Sibanda.
He said he believes his side has managed to beat champions FC Platinum due to their ability to scout talented players, such as Perfect Chikwende and Stanley Ngala who have gone on to put on sterling performances in the Caf Champions League for the Zvishavane side.