Rujeko, Chidyamakono win Copa Coca-Cola crowns

GWANDA - Rujeko High and Chidyamakono were crowned the winners of the 28th edition of the Copa Coca-Cola football tournament in the boys’ Under-16 and girls’ Under-17 categories yesterday.

For Rujeko, it was a sweet victory as they lost last year’s final to Dewure on penalties at Barbourfields Stadium, but this time they came out top after overcoming Chinhoyi High 4-1 also on penalties.

The boys’ final had ended goalless in regulation time and went straight to the dreaded penalty shootout lottery where Rujeko's Rangarirai Dzawo, Maclean Chidabvu, Brendon Mushore and Nelson Nyamanhira buried their spot kicks.

Chinhoyi's Anesu Masunda was denied by Rujeko's goalkeeper Tanaka Majaji with Simba Kasukuwere Jnr being the only one to find the target for Mash West school while Joshua Maringosi's effort crashed against the upright.

Rujeko were generally the better side in regulation time as they dominated proceedings but were just unlucky not to hit the back of the net.

They even had a goal contentiously disallowed for offside after exciting midfielder Desmond Gidion hit the back of the net in the second half.

Rujeko coach Hardware Chatora saluted his charges saying they came determined to avenge for last year's disappointment.

“I’m very happy and proud of these youngsters for working hard,” Chatora said.

“We worked very hard. We knew we would do it especially after losing in the final last year. We wanted to prove that our last year's performance was not a fluke and this was a great way of doing so.

“It was a tough tournament and it was only fair for us to win considering we were paired in the Group of Death alongside Pamushana and Guinea Fowl.”

Chinhoyi coach Wycliff Kafeso said it was a painful loss but accepted his charges lost to a better side.

Chinhoyi just like winners Rujeko were also gunning for their maiden title.

“It hurts losing in the final but at the same we need to accept that its part and parcel of the game," Kafeso said.

“I also felt we played against a good side. There were very difficult to break especially at the back and credit should go to them.

“It's not the end of the world. We will go and prepare so that we come stronger next year.”

In the women’s category it seems Chidyamakono have now personalised this trophy as yesterday’s 1-0 victory in the final over Magwegwe was their fourth straight Copa Coca-Cola title.

However, Chidyamakono should consider themselves lucky after playing second fiddle to Magwegwe for long periods.

The defending champions were handed the trophy on a silver platter after Magwegwe goalkeeper failed to deal with a harmless speculative shot from Neria Mashede which settled the matters.

Chidyamakono coach Yeukai Chirivu was elevated after the victory.

“I’m so happy. This is a remarkable feat,” Chiruvu said of winning the trophy four times in a row.

“I think experience counted most for us. We knew what we wanted and we stick to our game plan and it worked for us.”

There were individual awards in both the boys and girls categories which saw several best players walking away with prices.

Organisers of the tournament were happy with level of competition while some coaches complained about the use of over aged players by some schools.

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