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Why Zimbabwean Football Needs to Embrace Performance Analysis


By Francis Nyamutsamba (Performance Analyst)

Data has transformed the football landscape presenting massive opportunities for club’s and national teams to make use of event and tracking data in the evaluation of player performance in an objective manner.

While event data captures an individual players actions with the ball tracking data provides even more sophisticated information on the position of a player on the pitch while also calculating statistics such as distance covered, average speed and sprinting bursts.

Sadly despite being endowed with quality young footballers, Zimbabwe has not been able to export as much talent as it should be largely due to the absence of detailed data which has become a fundamental aspect of the scouting process.

With where the game has gone, video evidence coupled with detailed reports indicating a player’s technical ability, tactical awareness, physical development, mental aptitude and speed are some of the key facets which modern scouts look at before recommending talent.

Marvelous Nakamba and Tinotenda Kadewere represent the fruits that can emerge from young talent getting European exposure at an early age hence the reason for their progression to competitive leagues.

While there is plenty of other talent in the country, structural deficiencies need to be addressed with deliberate emphasis on engaging certified scouts, sport scientists and analysts fundamental in determining the stage of a players development.

International certified scouts not only bring much needed knowledge but also provide critical networks built while embarking on the various available international courses which offer a platform for people from different countries to interact.

In order to offer more opportunities for local talent the starting point could perhaps be to encourage our clubs to include trained scouts, performance analysts and sport scientists as part of their structure.

This allows for more frequent data collection through the use of video footage.

As team’s see value in such an investment the purchasing of material such as GPS vests will allow for the collection of tracking data which basically focuses on tracking a players position as well as registering variables such as sprints made and distance covered.

At established institutions which make use of performance analysis, advanced systems such as TRACAB are able to produce 10 points of data in every second. For the full 90 minutes of football this amounts to a minimum of 1,4 million stats being created through notational analysis. Sadly, performance analysis is a field largely ignored by Zimbabwean clubs with such a department often non-existent.

Well-structured clubs boast of a lead performance analyst, senior performance analyst, data analyst, opposition analyst, set piece and training analyst as well as a recruitment analyst, an indication of the vast amount of investment required in order for a coach to be able to make well informed decisions.

As Zimbabwe continues to lag behind, countries such as Morocco are serious about performance analysis as indicated by the appointment of Liverpool’s former head of post-match analysis Harrison Kingston to the position of Director of Performance Analysis and Framework.

Article by: Francis Nyamutsamba (Performance Analyst)
Qualifications – PFSA UK level 1 – Performance Analysis in Football, ZISCA level 2 coaching certificate, Advanced Sports Management Diploma – ZOC, B.A Media Studies
Contacts: 0773546865 Email –

Robert Tapfumaneyi