Christian Epoupa Ntouba

Foreign stars invasion

Nkosilodumo Ndebele
TOURISTS or the real deal?

Zimbabwe has in the last couple of years seen an influx of foreign players jetting into the country trying their luck in local football.

Be it topflight football — the Premier Soccer League — or in the Division One leagues, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Cameroonian and even American players are seen flocking into the country for a dance with local teams.

Local football is far from being the best in Africa or even closer to that but it hasn’t stopped foreigners from crossing into our borders, ready to convince local coaches that they are the real deal.

From Highlanders’ duo of Tambwe Kalunga and Ebabali Esisa Yves to a Ghanaian who answered to the name of Kofi Yeboah trying his luck for Tsholotsho, foreign players are nothing new to local football.

Dynamos unleashed a gem that came in the mould of Cameroonian Christian Epoupa who has suddenly become a darling to hordes of DeMbare fans courtesy of his eye for goal, ball artistry and wizardry.

Not to be outdone, five Americans, who were quickly, dubbed “tourists” by Highlanders fans also tried flirting with the Bulawayo giants.

Of course the flirtation remained nothing but a far-fetched dream.

As the Zifa Southern Region league draws to a close three Nigerians have landed in Bulawayo at Talen Vision.

By Division One standards Talen Vision is an ambitious side that even sought the services of a Slovakian coach Miroslav Nemec.

Now it’s all eyes on the three boys from Lagos.

The trio comprises of Amos Adesami Layode, Samson Chimayeze Ezine and Osi Miniru Mande.

Ambitious like their side, the new players are confident to take Talen Vision to the top flight league next season.

“Our main target for now is to get our team promoted to the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League next season,” said one of the players Layode.

The presence of the boys has been felt as Talen Vision has scored seven goals in the last two games.

“The league is different from where we come from. Back home, we used to play in slow tempo which is different from what we experienced here. In Zimbabwe, the players press too much but we are slowly adjusting and we are helping our team get goals,” said Layode.

The players also revealed that the task at hand is going to be a difficult journey.

“This is definitely a new challenge for us because we are at a different environment from home. Although both sides have high temperatures, the difference between Zimbabwe and Nigeria is that here we train and play most of our games in the afternoon when it’s very hot compared to Nigeria where we play in the morning when it’s cool,” said Layode.

“When it comes to grounds, Zimbabwean grounds are very rough. We had a hard time in our last game at Railton grounds. However, this is not new to us as we grew up playing in such grounds, we are ready to play, we are soldiers,” added Layode.

The players concluded by saying they were happy with the coaches who are very professional and were learning from them.