Vitesse, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord opening academies in Zimbabwe?
It’s of no doubt that football in Africa has been lagging behind on many aspects. The number of quality players that make it to the professional scene versus that of those that fail to find opportunities and are forced to change professions before their mid-twenties is astonishing. Many have talked about these things and some have even suggested solutions which are yet to yield impactful results. Clemens Westerhof, the former Nigeria and Zimbabwe national football coach has something brewing for Africa.
Apart from the fact that the Dutchman has coached the national teams of Nigeria and Zimbabwe, the 78-year old football veteran has had some experience in coaching at club level in Zimbabwe. He coached one of the biggest clubs in the country, Dynamos, who have a rich history admired by many.
The Netherlands born coach, Clemens Westerhof is contemplating the possibility of coaching at a telecom club in Gweru, Zimbabwe and taking up a challenge of building an academy ground-up. The latter is the more interesting part which has been touched by some football greats like Johan Cruyff who influenced the structure and style of play at Ajax, a successful club and academy that has a rich scouting network. Westerhof admires how Ajax have setup a network in South Africa i.e. Ajax Cape Town which has developed players like Thulani Serero. This partnership has brought some developments to the country through the spread of high-quality training techniques applied in other parts of the world.
Clemens Westerhof assumed an advisory role at the Peter Mubi Academy. The football academy wants him to improve their academy and hopefully achieve what he achieved in Nigeria in the past and improve the level of football in Zimbabwe. He is looking to collaborate with Dutch football clubs. The experienced coach wants to take advantage of his network and approached PSV Eindhoven, coached by a football great in Mark Van Bommel who played for Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AC Milan. He is quoted as having said the above.
Could this be it? The breakthrough that Africa needs. Are partnerships with bigger clubs in the world the solution to Africa’s football ills?