Fungayi Munyoro Sports Correspondent—
MUTARE Boys High and Nyamauru High Schools will represent Manicaland at the national finals of the 2018 Copa Coca Cola Under-15 boys and girls’ soccer tournament after they emerged winners at the provincial finals held in Buhera on Tuesday.
The tournament will run from July 12 to 14 at Mandava High School in Zvishavane. Mutare Boys High is hoping to go all the way to lift the Copa trophy.
Mutare Boys High captain Kundai Matao said they deserved the win.
“We worked very hard as a team and we are now aiming higher at the national finals. I believe team work has helped us a lot. I also want to pay tribute to our coaches who guided us through. We have to write our own history. We heard that our school last won the trophy in 1998 and we were not even born. We want to return that glory back to Mutare,” said an ecstatic Matao.
Mutare Boys High School sports director Kuda Dube believes it is their year to shine.
“As a school we are very happy that we managed to qualify. The last time we played in the nationals was four years ago in Bulawayo. We faced stiff competition as compared to the previous year but we managed to sail through.
“We are happy; we managed to go back to the drawing board and came up with the winning formula. We were under pressure as everyone has been calling us to bring back glory to the province. We have good players and nothing will stop us. We are so grateful to NASH that it has so much faith in us. We are geared up for the finals and we have assembled a great team of Form One students,” said Dube.
Mutare Boys High School only won the tournament in 1998. In 2009 they were beaten 2-1 by Dzivarasekwa in the national semis.
In 2014 their journey ended in the quarter finals. The following year, they were shown the exit door in the group stages where they battled against Mpopoma and Rujeko.
In 2016 they could not go past the provincial group stages after falling 1-0 to Nyazura and drawing nil all with Mutambara.
In 2017, they were dismissed at the district level after suffering a 1-nil defeat in the hands of Holy Ghost, drew 0-0 with St Joseph and Masasi respectively.
This time around Mutare Boys High was in Group C together with Takwirira and Murambinda. They lost 1 nil to Takwirira in their first encounter before beating Murambinda 4 nil with 2 goals coming from Royce Muhoni, Prosper Padera and Eddy Kanyago scored a goal each.
They progressed to the quarter finals where they dismissed Bumba 2 nil to book a place in the semis with stubborn St Noah. It ended 0-0 and they progressed to penalty shootout were Boys High won 8-7.
In the finals they won 1-0 against Hande Secondary.
It was also Nyamauru’s day who dismissed the provincial champions Mamunyadza 1-0 in their opening game before shocking Bonda with a 4-0 defeat.
Nyamauru went on to beat Nyakuipa 2-0 in the quarter finals and in the semis, they beat Rukweza 5-1 before a 2 nil win in the final against Muzokomba.