Teenage sensation joins Britain’s best talent factory; Southampton

MUTARE-BORN teenage sensation, Rugare Dave Musendo, who spent his early childhood in Chikanga high-density suburb, is now turning out for Southampton Under-18 team in England, Post Sport has learnt. The 16-year-old, who relocated to the United Kingdom together with his parents when he was only seven, has since earned the admiration of his new coach after an impressive display in a league match last Saturday.

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He started off at Chelsea in 2009 to 2012 and then joined Arsenal academy

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Musendo, a talented young midfielder who turns 17 on October 15 this year, has moved from Arsenal juniors after a two-year contract with the Gunners junior side.

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The Southampton FC Academy is the driving force behind the next generation of home-grown British footballers.

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They are the organisation who turned the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Wayne Bridge, Luke Shaw into the magical footballers that they are today.

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Born to David John Musendo, he is one of Zimbabwean football starlets in the Diaspora who are keen to play for the Young Warriors.

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According to Southampton’s official website, www.saintsfc.co.uk, Musendo was among the three 16-year-olds who were handed a start in last Saturday’s win.

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“Southampton FC Under-18s coach, Anthony Limbrick, who handed first starts to Dave Musendo, Connor Langan and Tyreke Johnson, was satisfied with the display and felt the inexperienced members of his squad acquitted themselves well against the Potters at Staplewood.

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“To start three 16s in their first 18s game and to come out with that sort of performance in quite a tight game, I thought we played fairly well,” he said.

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“It’s a rise in tempo and intensity in the games and they dealt with that well.

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“Obviously they need a lot of work to be pushing and starting the team regularly for next season, but they got their opportunity today and I was really pleased with them.
\n“I thought there were some decent performances in there from a lot of young players, so that was really pleasing.

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“I thought we had definitely done enough at 2-1, we just got caught out a little bit from the set play, which is always disappointing, but overall I’m fairly pleased and was just disappointed really for the players, because they deserved to get the win.

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“We said ‘let’s get the performance right and then the win will come’, and we nearly got there and nearly did that.
\n“I was a little bit disappointed with that, it would’ve been nice to win and climb up that table, but we’ve got two more to go — Arsenal away and Bolton at home — and they’re very winnable games, so we’ll do our best there.

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“We had good periods of possession, created more chances than them, pressed well — the first goal came from a good bit of pressure and Fela with a nice finish, and it was good to see him score two today,” reads part of the story posted on the website headlined “Limbrick’s praise for youthful side”.

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Musendo’s Harare-based uncle, Ngoni Musendo, also confirmed that the youngster had moved from Arsenal to Southampton FC.

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“I am still in the process of getting the finer details — but I can confirm that he joined Southampton after his contract at Arsenal expired.
\n“He is a talented youngster who moved to the United Kingdom when he was only seven.

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“They used to stay in Chikanga in Mutare,” he said in a telephone interview from his Harare base early this week.
\nDuring the days that the youngster was still at Arsenal, Ngoni was quoted in the local media saying the family wanted him to turn up for Zimbabwe instead of England, where he could end up making limited appearances.

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“Rugare was born here in Zimbabwe and went to the United Kingdom when he was only seven. He started off at Chelsea in 2009 to 2012 and then joined Arsenal Academy,” said Ngoni.

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Ngoni said Rugare moved to his new base after his contract expired last year.
\n“Actually, Rugare is keen to be considered for the Young Warriors.

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“He is still at school, but his development in football has been awesome and he could make a difference to the junior Zimbabwe sides,” said Ngoni.

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“As as family, we also feel that Rugare faces more competition to get a regular place in the English teams than in Zimbabwe.

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“So I feel that his exposure and that of several other young Zimbabweans at English academies should be tapped on.
\n“We hope that the selectors could give such drilled players a chance to try for the national teams and hopefully even our Warriors will benefit in future,” said Ngoni.

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With the introduction of the academy system in the late 1990s, Southampton have taken this to another level. The club certainly thinks long term, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been at the club since he was seven, Bale since he was nine, Walcott since eleven, and so on.

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Now Southampton are back in the Premier League and looking stronger than ever.