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Chemhanza and Chidyamakono schools managed to defend the titles they won last year in the National Association of Secondary School Heads (Nash) Copa Coca Cola tournament which was staged for the 26th time last week.

However, after watching some of the matches running down to the finals that pitted Chemhanza against Oriel Boys and Chidyamakono and St Francis in the girls category, I was left with a feeling that we might be channelling developmental resources to the wrong people altogether.

Even former Warriors skipper Norman Mapeza, Tonderai Ndiraya and Zimbabwe Soccer coaches chairman Bekhi Nyoni, with whom I had a chat after the finals, concurred that age cheating was still rife in schools.

If one were to ask some of those kids without raising suspicion, they would tell you they were doing Ordinary Level, while some are Lower and Upper Six students. Then, to try to make sense out of it with the age limit of this competition, one would see that something is amiss.

Mapeza said some decisions made by some players in the field of play told a lot about their age. There are certain decision limitations expected from kids of a particular age group. Some of them even played better than premiership players of this current generation.

However, as a nation we must not leave all this to Delta, but also come up with ideas that will help in improving the next edition of the same tournament.

From the long discussion with football greats, I think there is every reason why the sponsors must come up with a committee that will oversee issues to do with age by introducing bone testing at the tournament.

Bone age testing is a process performed to detemine the relative maturity of a person. It is very expensive especially when you want to test the entire team at US$200 per head. But for starters, let’s not worry about the entire team but just hand pick three players that would have raised eyebrows from all the participating teams. If any player is caught within the cheating racket, the school should be disqualified and banned from participating in the tournament for a reasonable number of years. If this is done, surely we will start to channel developmental resources to the rightful people who will make us proud tomorrow.

Bone testing is the way to go as some schools end up producing birth certificates that do not belong to the kids that they would have sneaked into their teams.

The purpose of the tournament is not just for the schools to win something but the idea is to develop the rightful sportpersons with the nation in mind.

I hope Delta will take this into consideration for the next Copa Coca Cola edition.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard

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