By Martin Muleya.
BINDURA, Zimbabwe. (News Of The South) – Provincial Under 15 girls Copa Coca Cola champions Mamunyadza High who made their maiden appearance at the country’s most prestigious grassroots junior soccer tournament finished as runners-up and walked away with $2,200cash and flouting trophy at the national finals that were held in Bindura a fortnight ago.
A total of 24 schools both girls and girls descended Mashonaland Central provincial capital Bindura, to battle for the top honors in tourney bankrolled by the leading local beverage company, Coca Cola.
Mpopoma (Bulawayo), Mamunyadza (Manicaland), Mwenezi (Masvingo), George Chipadza (Mash Central), Vainona (Harare), Parirewa, Tongwe (Mat South), Tohwe, Sodbury (Mash West) and the host Hermann Gmainer represented the girls’ category while in the boys category it was Pfupajena (Mat North),Lobengula (Bulawayo), Kundayi, Rusununguko (Mash East), Oriel Boys (Harare), Takwirira (Manicaland), Sobvubu, Mzingwane, Guinea Fowl (Mash Central), (Midlands), Gutu (Masvingo), Chipindura the hosts and Rujeko the 2016 defending champions.
Manicaland province girls’ representative Mamunyadza high of Buhera, made their presence felt during the two day tournament.
The girls’ team started their journey to the finals by beating George Chipadza 2-1and lost to 2016 defending champions Chidyamakono of Masvingo 1-0. They then proceeded to the quarter-finals stage on a runners-up ticket where they crashed Rushinga of Mashonaland Central 2-0.
The rural girls who humbled a star studded Nyamauru high to clinch the provincial also knocked out Vainona of Harare 3-1, thus making their way to the finals.
2016 Copa Coca Cola girls’ national champions Chdyamakono were held to a goalless draw by George Chipadza in the group stage.
They managed to seal their dominance in the quarter finals when they thrashed Sodbury of Mashonaland West six goals with no reply.
Masvingo based Mwenezi high school who had had a smooth sail in group stages against Mpopoma of Bulawayo Vainona of Harare were all humbled to a two nil defeat, respectively and went on to teach the host team Hermann Gmainer 4-0 in the quarter finals only to make an exit in the semi- finals during spot kicks after the match had ended goalless against the defending champions on regulation time for their impressive effort they walked away with $1 600 while Vainona were reward $1 100 for being fourth winners.
Losing quarter finalist that included the host Hermann Gmainer, Sodbury from Mash West, Rushinga (Mash Central) and Tongwe (Mat South) all walked away with $ #50 while the rest of the participating teams walked with $750 each.
Chidyamakono who were bidding for their fifth straight appearance at the tournament managed to remain the girls’ soccer powerhouse edging Mamunyadza 1-0 in the finals and walked away $3 500 richer and flouting trophy.
Mutare Boys High School who have been a regular at the national finals missed for the first time being replaced by Takwirira high of Chipinge.
The rural boys in their campaign were never in the game as they never showed any zeal or determination to win apart as they lost all their group matches against Lobengula and Rusununguko by a goal to nil respectively, making an early exit out of the tournament.
Defending champions Rujeko high school could have had the last laugh as they only went as far as the quarter final stage where they were given marching orders by Rusununguko high 0-1.
The 2016 who had had led a comfortable life courtesy of the Coca Cola company where the launch of the tournament was held and again having the national finals played in their province failed to turn the tables to reserve a place for them in the next Coca Cola edition next year.
They drew 0-0 with Gutu before edging Guinea Fowl 3-2 in group stages. To save their face, it was the host Chipindura who fought in their corner dismissing Sobvubu and Mzingwane 1-0 respectively and proceeded into the quarter final match where they prevailed over Oriel Boys high on spot kicks but unfortunately were halted by Rusununguko in the semi- finals through a 0-1 win on the latter.
Rusununguko high school started their campaign with just 10men beating Takwirira and forcing a goalless draw that catapulted them into the quarter finals where they knocked out the defending champions.
From there on, the Mash East boys became the crowd’s favorite with pint-sized midfielder Abel Maunga wrecking havoc in the middle of the park while Oscar Magejo and Adrian Zvidzi made sure that no ball went beyond goalkeeper Denzel Marufu in the semi –finals where they edged Chipindura 1-0 and proceeded into the finals.
The final match was worth the while as Pfupajena boys tried to outdo their opponents only to lose the plot during spot kicks where they were beaten 2-4 after the match had ended 1-1.
Rusununguko emerged the winners in the boys soccer and walked away with $3 500, flouting trophy and medals.
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