Home » Sports » ’Football Needs to Remember Its Roots’

FOOTBALL needs to take care of the grassroots structures, which are the breeding grounds of the next generation of stars, if the game in this country is to scale heights of success again.

As the curtain came down on a successful Copa Coca-Cola boys Under-16 and girls Under-17 football tournament on Sunday, acting provincial education director for Harare, Edward Shumba, highlighted the importance of the development of juniors.

The annual event saw 24 schools from the country’s 10 provinces fighting for honours in the boys and girls competitions.

Chemhanza and Chidyamakono were crowned champions for the boys and girls.

Speaking at the end of the tournament yesterday, Shumba said the future of football lies in the young players.

“To all football coaches, players and football lovers, bear in mind that football is like life. It requires perseverance, discipline, hardwork, sacrifice, dedication and respect of authority.

“The future of football in this country lies in the youth. We thank Copa Coca-Cola for keeping the fire burning.

“Copa Coca-Cola tournament in our schools is very popular. Almost every school participates in this football tournament from the zone right up to the national level,” said Shumba. Shumba said they were grateful to the sponsors of the tournament which also took on board the girls in 2011.

“We are grateful for this gesture that has stood the test of time. We hope it can grow from strength to strength,” said Shumba.

Coca-Cola senior franchise brand manager, Takunda Jinda, said the purpose of the tournament was to develop talent from an early age.

“Nash and Coca-Cola have enjoyed a long standing relationship through the sponsorship of the Under-16 boys and Under-17 girls event for many years now.

“This sponsorship was mooted with the aim of developing soccer in Zimbabwe whilst ensuring a healthy active lifestyle amongst the youth,” said Jinda.

This year’s tournament was graced by various football personalities including former Warriors coach Norman Mapeza and Mighty Warriors coach, Rosemary Mugadza.

Mugadza said schools should take aantage of such tournaments to develop players and not just chase results.

“I think the level was good. We hope that the schools will use this for development. It’s not about winning but for developing the players.

“We hope Coca-Cola will continue to support because as you know Zambia (Under-17 team) went to the World Cup and it was through such sponsorship,” said Mugadza.

Some of the schools had their players expelled from the tournament during the vetting process.

Zifa board members John Phiri and Miriam Sibanda graced the occasion.

Source : The Herald