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ORIEL Boys High School coach Shadreck Machihani is confident his troops will rise to the occasion this weekend in their battle for honours in the Copa Coca-Cola boys Under-16 football tournament national finals.

The Copa Coca-Cola boys Under-16 and girls Under-17 annual event will be played over two days with Takashinga Cricket Academy, Highfield High, Kuwangira and Chengu Schools in Highfield hosting the group stage matches.

The finals will be played at Gwanzura Stadium.

Oriel will be competing in the national finals for the first time after beating Mabvuku High School 3-1 on penalties in the provincial finals played last month.

They will take on Bulawayo’s representatives, Mzilikazi and Cheziya from Midlands in Pool B of the group stages.

Oriel should brace for stiff competition from former champions, Mzilikazi, who will be hoping to make an impact in their comeback this year.

Machihani said they will be gunning for the title as any of the teams in the finals had a good chance of winning.

“If you are entering a different territory, obviously, you will have that fear of the unknown but since we have been preparing for this tournament we are confident we will lift the trophy,” said Machihani.

“We have former champions from this province such as Lord Malvern, Churchill and Prince Edward who played these teams.

“So we have told the boys we can also do it.

“There is no big team in soccer. Of course, we might look at history but history does not determine the future.

“The boys have been responding well and we are going to have a good game come Saturday.

“They are improving very well and we might have something better comparing to what happened at the provincial finals.

“It’s also a chance for our boys to be identified by big teams.”

Machihani said they will have a two-day camp, which started yesterday at the school, and they will join the other participating teams on Friday at Churchill.

“So far so good, we are doing very well. We are going into camp today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today) and we will join the other teams on Friday (tomorrow).

“This will be okay for us because we have been training all along and we will use these two days to fine-tune our preparations.

“We want to fine-tune our team, especially on the attacking part. We will continue with other areas but our main concern is attacking,” said Machihani.

Some of the former champions that will participate in this year’s boys competition include Pamushana from Masvingo and Mzingwane from Matabeleland South.

Boys Pools:

Pool A: Chemhanza (Mashonaland East), Chipadze (Mashonaland Central), Pamushana (Masvingo).

Pool B: Oriel Boys (Harare), Mzilikazi (Bulawayo), Cheziya (Midlands).

Pool C: Mukondwa (Mashonaland East), Chinonge (Matabeleland North), Mutare Boys High (Manicaland).

Pool D: Churchill (Harare), Vimbai (Mashonaland) West, Mzingwane (Matabeleland South).

Girls Pools:

Pool A: Roosevelt (Harare), Muzimuni (Matabeleland South), St Francis (Mashonaland Central).

Pool B: Chidzikwe (Masvingo), Magwegwe (Bulawayo), Mwanza (Mashonaland East).

Pool C: Chidyamakono (Masvingo), Chilisa (Matabeleland North), Gato (Midlands).

Pool D: Vainona (Harare), Nyamaruru (Manicaland), Sodbury (Mashonaland West).

Source : The Herald