2017 Copa Coca-Cola launched

HARARE - Zimbabwe's school football should adopt a tracking system to ensure players who excel at age-grade tournaments are monitored, National Association for Secondary School Heads (Nash) president Johnson Madhuku has said.

“As Nash we should have a database of such players and a tracking system to monitor the fruits of such sterling work,” Madhuku said during the launch of the 2017 Copa Coca-Cola football extravaganza.

This year’s edition of the tournament in the boys’ section is set to adopt a new format as the organisers seek to conform to the international standards as outlined by Fifa.

Over the years, the junior schoolboy football tournament has ran with the Under-16 age group for the boys and with effect from this year it will be limited to only Under-15 players.

However, the girls’ section of the tournament will remain eligible for players in the Under-17 category.

“Nash is very excited by this year’s introduction of the Under-15 age groups for the boys’ category,” Madhuku said.

“These players are clearly Form One and Two students who have been given a much deserved opportunity to develop their skill and talent.

“My only appeal to my colleagues is that we should not rob these youngsters of their chance to play and develop by fielding over-aged players.”

Madhuku said vetting should be “tough, thorough, strict but fair and transparent so that we have a credible tournament”.

Delta Sparkling Beverages general manager Moses Gambiza said participants now have a chance to play in the regional tournament, pencilled in for later this year.

“This development will see the youth sharing lots of experience and bridging the gap between those in different countries and continents,” he said.

“We continue to be proud sponsors of this initiative which is an important, long term investment in our youth.

“We wish all the schools and teams that are vying for recognition in this tournament all the very best.

“We hope this year’s tournament will be resounding success, one that makes all our stakeholders proud.

“The Nash-organised soccer tournament has made a mark on the lives of thousands of secondary school pupils, their families and communities throughout Zimbabwe over the years.

“It shows the lasting power of football and it reminds us of how far we have come. Indeed very successful road with so much to be proud of.”

The Copa Coca-Cola national finals will be held at Chipindura and Herman Germaine schools in Mashonaland Central between July 21 and 22.

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