The Sunday Mail
The Challenge Football League (CFL) completed their 2019 program in Harare yesterday, with the Legends crowned champions.
The league includes six Zifa registered academies, including DC Academy, Eagles, Legends, Galaxy Academy and Sportsvale Academy.
The league is committed to developing emerging talent and has been providing a competitive platform for academy football players to transition into the professional game.
However, CFL chairman Farai Dhliwayo has blasted Zifa for failing to support their endeavours.
Despite this, the league also held their end of season awards at the Hellenic Sports Club.
Chief Nderere of Eagles was the league’s Player of the Season.
Douglas Mapfumo was voted the Best Striker of the Season.
Cranborne’s Anxious Mhangara was the Midfielder of the Season while Gerald Bhoko from DC was the Defender of the Season.
Lloyd Mapuye from Eagles was the Goalkeeper of the Season.
Dhliwayo is satisfied with how the maiden season progressed.
“I am very proud of completing the 2019 CFL season. The league was run in a professional manner. We saw great improvement in a number of players.
“The level of play was exceptional and the life skills program has equipped the young players with the means to transition to the professional game.
“Our development work is producing real results in terms of changing the young players’ lives. Beyond the improvement in technical and tactical skills, some talented players have been signed by local premier league and division one clubs. This is the vocational pathway being created by the league.
“Douglas Mapfumo, the league’s top scorer, has caught Caps United’s eye, whilst Nigel Kupara and Tafadzwa Joseph have signed deals with Yadah FC.
“Brendon Bhafu is now playing for Golden Valley and a few premiership clubs are interested in him for the next season. Most local premier league clubs are struggling financially and this prevented more players from making transfers.
“But I believe the future is bright for young academy players who are disciplined, focused and possess a strong work ethic.
“These qualities are missing in our national game.
“It is our hope that Zifa will eventually understand that their primary focus should be directed towards development efforts. This is how the national teams will improve in future,’’ said Dhliwayo.
Speaking on the Young Warriors’ humiliation by South Africa in an Under-23 Afcon qualifier in Johannesburg on Friday night as well as the team’s withdrawal from the Cosafa competitions, Dhliwayo expressed disappointment.
“Many of the premiership clubs are broke, they do not have any resources for juniors.
“By pulling out of the Cosafa Under-17 and Under-20 tournaments this year, Zifa has deprived the players of a chance of playing abroad and being scouted. This was a chance for our league’s top performers to win and be exposed to financially viable leagues,’’ Dhliwayo said.