HomeSportCopa Coca Cola reaches climax

Copa Coca Cola reaches climax

Defending champions Chemhanza made their intentions of retaining the Copa Coca-Cola Under-16 trophy clear after storming into the final courtesy of a hard fought one-nil semi-final victory over Mzilikazi High School at Zimbabwe Grounds yesterday.

By Munyaradzi Madzokere

Rangarirai Muchakazi’s boys will face Harare representatives Oriel Boys High in the final to be played at Gwanzura today.

Oriel Boys High had the heroics of goalkeeper Panashe Nyabunga to thank as the team recorded shootout wins in both the quarterfinal and semi-final.

However, the story of the 2014 Copa Coca-cola edition was provided by Hwedza school Mukondwa who astonishingly reached semi-finals with a nine man side after 11 of their players were controversially disqualified for questionable age.

The Mashonaland East champions stole the hearts of many neutrals, fielding only eight in-field players and a makeshift goalkeeper but managed to qualify from their group, magnanimously dumping giants Pamushana in the quarter-final stage of the tournament.

Captain Dion Zhuwakino and Takaedza “Rooney” Muzhuwarara shone like beacons in the heart of defence and were easily the most outstanding players on view yesterday.

In the ladies category, St Francis High School were on a demolition mission as they scored goals at will and dated defending champions Chidyamakono in the final.

St Francis thumped Chilisa 5 – 0 in the quarterfinals, following up with another four-nil drubbing of Chidzikwe in the semis while Chidyamakono needed a 2-1 penalty shoot-out victory over hosts Vainona and 1-0 win over Magwegwe.

A galaxy of football personalities such as Norman Mapeza, Taurai Mangwiro, Norman Maroto, John Phiri, Ashley Rambanepasi among many others attended the exciting annual football festival.

The winners of the tournament stand to go home US$6 500 richer while the runners-up will settle for a US$5 000 cheque.

Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches Association chairman Bekhimpilo Nyoni hailed the tournament as a success.

“Coca-cola has to be commended for such great and successful tournament but I am not happy with the standard of football exhibited, I still feel we can improve it in this age group,” he said.
“I also feel Naph can also improve the vetting process because it’s not good to have a team play with only nine players and no substitutes,” he added.

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