By Tongai Mashonga
Internationally recognised educational institution Herentals College hosted its first promotional junior football tournament in Kwekwe on 12 January this year at Mbizo Stadium.
The Herentals promotional soccer tournament is spread across all provinces in a move to partner the local communities and empower the youths so that they abstain from drugs and take sport as a career for life support.
One of Herentals college director Tariro Benza was happy and excited with the level of talent exihibited at the Kwekwe series tournament .
“It was a quite hot day but the community of Jwekwe came in high numbers to support the youths. Kwekwe has a lot of amazing exceptional talent and as Herentals will do something to help develop these players.
” The community has a lot to offer on talent identification giving exposure to the youths so that we have a balanced person equipped academically and sporting excellency.
“This was a knock at the door and it will include girls teams in the next series of the tournament. We are grateful to the community of Kwekwe they gave us a warm welcome enviroment and we are looking forward to work with the community “, he said .
Winners of the tournament walked away $200 richer runners up got $100 while other teams who participated were given $40 each.
Five teams took part in the tournament Herentals College TEAM, Kwekwe United, Kwekwe Academy , Econet and Torwood Stars with Econet scooping inaugural championship medal while Torwood Stars were runners up .The tournament which was well coordinated by tournament sports director Silvester Bhachi and veteran footballer Ishmael Meki produced 16 classical goals.
” As Herentals we do believe in young talent and they should pursue their talents not only academic, parents should encourage children to take part in sports, those who are academically weak should take sport as a carreer than to lie idle and get involved in drug abuse.
“We do have sporting activities but this first football tournament where we are giving back to the community while the youths are showcasing their talents and socialising ,will have girls teams in our next tournament” said herentals teacher and tournament sports director Silvester Bhachi.
Of the five teams registered to play in the tournament each team played five games on a round robin basis Econet scored seven goals with their star striker Methonia Joro Chaita scoring four clinical goals and scooped the top goal scorer award, the most promising player award went to Torwood Stars’ Malvin Majoka while man of the tournament none other than Econet’s Michael Zimba the look alike of Brazillian internation star Neymar.Zimba who is now on the radar of local division one teams was a marvel to watch during the tournament together with Kwekwe United’s Tinashe Murisa.
There were some absolutely brilliant moments during the tourney which drew attention of former football greats the likes of former Caps united coach Solomon Kaseke, former national under 20 caoch Jairos Tapera.
With his father on the terraces young Ishmael Choko Meki curled a brilliant free kick on the edge of the box to score for his side Kwekwe Academy in a match against Kwekwe Untd.
Nicknamed Choko Ishmael is the son of former Tongogara fc captain Ishmael Meki.
The Herentals promotional soccer tourney had all the ingredients of internanational football tourneys hard tackles, red cards, superb ball control, chest passes amazing dribling skills, methodical build, good goalkeeping skills and blunders.
An elated seasoned Kwekwe United coach Gatsi Mukombwe praised Herentals for hosting the tournament.
“It was not about winning but identifying and developing local talent at very young age was the key area. We thank Herentals for their efforts which will go a long way in developing talent in Kwekwe wish other institutions can follow in Herentals footstep as they have set the standard,” said Mukombwe .
Victorious Econet team manager Innocent Chigumira said ” our players were physically, phsycologically prepared for the tournament. I give credit to the technical team and the players,” he said.
“Our first game was good we lacked steam on the other three games our strikers created chances but wasted them but it was a good tournament,” said Kwekwe Academy gaffer Ernest Takaindisa assisted by former Shabani Mine hardman Shadreck Malunga.
Herentals coach Wellington Gwatura promised fireworks next time “it was an eye opener we managed to identify talent. My team performed well, will prepare fully for the next tournament.
Junior football Provincial Coordinator Grassroot Instructor Rejoice Moyo said football tournaments equip youngsters with skills.
“We encourage youths to play tournaments as they help to develop players technically, they acquire more technicall skills and increase development levels as football is a school of life,” he said .
Herentals College who are known for academic excellency now coming with a sporting excellency package there promises to be fire works and more teams in their next promotional tournament.