Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS skipper Knowledge Musona’s failure to establish himself in Germany could have been a result of a culture shock and the competitive nature of the Bundesliga.
The Zimbabwe international forward made the big move from South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs, to TSG Hoffeinheim, nine years ago.
But, the Smiling Assassin struggled to settle and reproduce the form which had convinced Hoffenheim to invest in his services.
Musona arrived at the same time that Brazilian international forward, Roberto Firmino, joined the Bundesliga club.
However, while Firmino has now gone from strength to strength, winning the UEFA Champions League and the English championship with Liverpool, it’s not been the same story for Musona.
He now finds himself in Belgium, where he has again been loaned by his parent club, Anderlehct.
Deutsche Welle analyst, Kres Harrington, told South Africa’s Soccer Laduma that many factors were involved in Musona’s nightmarish move.
“The reality is that the Bundesliga doesn’t have the best history, in terms of developing talent, that is not European,’’ he said.
“Sometimes, home sickness issues are part of the reason too, culture shock as well.
“He spent time in Hoffeinheim and Augsburg between 2011 and 2014, having been in both of those cities I think culture shock could have played a huge part into why he didn’t produce.”
Many analysts have, inevitably, brought comparisons between the development of Musona and Firmino, who arrived at the club six months after the Zimbabwean.
Harrington said the Zimbabwean had the talent but he came to Germany at a time when there was high competition.
“Competition was a factor. Roberto Firmino came six months after to Hoffenheim and we all know where Firmino is now.
“In terms of Germany, not working out, he (Musona) was loaned back to the Chiefs at this period and he scored eight goals.
“So, opportunity, punching above your wait and giving yourself time to develop.
“The Bundelsiga was very competitive during this period in time; in this window (that’s when) we saw Bayern and Dortmund compete for the Champions League.
“That speaks of the competitiveness that was in the Bundesliga
“Other leagues, France and the Netherlands, have a better history of developing young African talents. The Bundesliga is not quite there yet.” Harrington’s sentiments were also expressed by former Warriors coach, Norman Mapeza, in earlier interviews with The Herald.
Mapeza, who gave Musona his international debut, believes the forward could have been more successful, in his European adventure, had he moved to France when he left South Africa.
Mapeza said that unlike the Bundesliga, French and Dutch clubs have a history of nurturing young talent, including players from outside Europe.
Musona was always frustrated by his lack of game time in Germany, which prompted Hoffenheim to loan him out to Augsburg, where he again failed to play regularly.
He also had a decent return when he moved to Belgium, for the first time, in 2015, scoring 35 goals for Oostende, over a period of three years.
The Warriors skipper, for all his frustrations at club level, has been one of the finest servants for his country in international football. There are many analysts who now say that, when it comes to the Warriors, only Peter Ndlovu has done better for the national team. They base their argument on achievements, largely the role each of them played in taking the Warriors to the AFCON finals, with Musona having become the inspirational leader of his generation.
However, there are some who argue that the spirited efforts of those, who pushed the Warriors to within just a victory of a place at the World Cup finals, are largely overlooked in such debate.