Fungayi Munyoro Sports Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) said they will register the Mai Hondo Junior Tournament on the Zifa calendar in appreciation of the efforts that the organisers have shown to junior development.
Speaking at the official launch of the tournament recently, Zifa technical director Wilson Mutekede said the mother body will assist the organisers of the tournament with all the necessities to run the tournament.
“As Zifa, we are very happy to be part of such a big initiative. It is a great initiative to establish such a great tournament.
Zifa shall move towards registering the Mai Hondo Memorial Tournament on its national event to appreciate the efforts of the organisers.
“We want to come in as Zifa and assist the organisers and stakeholders. We will be there to assist with all they might need. There are already scholarships for coaches to further their studies. As Zifa we will make sure that we will arrange courses for them. The idea is that everything must be aligned to Zifa standards,” he said.
Mutekede also applauded efforts by organisers of other Mutare junior football tournaments — the Willard Katsande and Mbaradza tournaments.
“It is a good thing that the province has three junior tournaments running. It is good for the development of the game. Our future players must be given an opportunity to play football.
“My plea to the organisers is that these tournaments must cater for all the age groups. This will be good for the development of the game,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, one of the organisers, Blessing “Jah B” Mutsaka, said they have decided to transform the tournament into an organisation that works with junior teams to nurture local talent.
“We have decided to make it an organisation than a once and off event.We will partner teams by proving them with sports equipment, assisting them with player registration and club administration.
“We will also support coaches by sending them to coaching clinics. We decided to partner teams for longer term because we realised the tournament only comes once but teams need capacity building an organisational support throughout.
“We want teams to be able to develop and market their players. We have established the Mai Hondo Soccer Associates and they are now the ones running the tournament. We also established a website and it is now running,“ he said.
The 2019 edition will be held from December 13-14.
Sheckon Stars won the 2015, 2016 and 2018 editions while the 2017 edition went to Ajax Academy of Mbare.