Mozambique coach Abel Xavier has come up with a novel way to get around club resistance to call-ups to the national team of their players and keep everyone ion his country’s football community happy.
For the Cosafa Castle Cup in the North West Province of South Africa this week, he named just one player from each of the top Mozambican teams in a development squad that fits in perfectly with the ethos of the tournament.
“Of course we are coming to compete, but it’s a fact that we brought a new team because of the dates of the hosting of the Cosafa tournament, which we regard with a lot of respect. Because sometimes the relationship between the clubs and the national team is difficult I took a decision to pick three different squads – one for the Cosafa, one for the CHAN-2018 qualifiers next month and one for our African Nations Cup qualifiers,” he explained.
“Normally during this time of the Cosafa Castle Cup, we would stop the Mozambican league for 16 days, more than two weeks, but deciding not to disturb the clubs has help me with my relationship with them plus enlarged the base of recruitment of my players, bringing a different set-up with new players coming to be tested at the international level. I believe this process of growing by competing against good opponents will allow be to properly assess their potential and give them a chance to taste football at a higher level.”
Abel Xavier, who was star defender for the Portuguese national team and also played for Everton and Liverpool in the English premier league, said Mozambique’s national team needed more competition for places, which would only benefit the Mambas.
“It was a risky, but calculated decision, which allows the Mozambican league to continue and gives the opportunity to 16 new players,” he added.