Local football commentator, George Deda, says Zimbabwe’s suspension from international football will cost the careers of multitudes of young footballers in the country.
Speaking to The Manica Post, Deda said local players will not be able to get national team caps which are an essential component of every player’s Curriculum Vitae. He said:
It is very important for a player to get international caps. It is much easier even if you are talking to foreign clubs that this player has represented his country from Under-17, 20, 23 and so on.
In most cases, we hear of players being signed by Liverpool, for example, and you hear that the deal is subject to securing a work permit.
Securing a work permit for a foreign player takes into account how many matches one played for his country of origin.
This is why about 10 to 15 years ago no player would get a foreign contract if one had not served his country in at least 20 to 25 international caps.
This is why we saw some players being called for national duty and spending the greater part of the match on the bench, only to be introduced for two or three minutes of regulation time remaining.
It was a way of trying to help the players get international caps. Caps do not matter how many minutes you have played, but featuring on the team card.
In some countries like Spain, Germany and many more it is very difficult for a foreign player to get a contract if they do not have the requisite national team caps.
It is a form of certification that a given player is a good player because he has been outstanding in his own country.
Zimbabwe was banned from participating in international football tournaments in 2022 by FIFA due to “third-party interference”.
That was after the Gerald Mlotshwa-led Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board on allegations of misappropriation of public funds and sexual harassment of female referees, among others.
It is now almost a year since the ban was ratified by the FIFA Congress and the country has since missed several international games that include the 2023 AFCON qualifiers.