Youth soccer tourney kicks off in Mutare

HARARE – An annual soccer tournament targeted at youth development kicks off in Mutare today.

The Under-15 Mai Hondo Memorial Junior Soccer Tournament will pit under-16 boys’ teams playing in the Mutare Zifa Junior League, as well as guest teams from Harare, Chipinge, Mutasa and Marange.

This will be the third edition of the tournament, and for the first time will include girls’ teams.

Over 320 boys as well as 40 girls will participate in this year’s tournament, which is supported by the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council Youth Centre, National Aids Council, Mutare Rotary Club, the Election Resource Centre, ZimRights and several individuals with an interest in youth development.

Last year, the tournament drew over 250 participants mainly from Sakubva, Chikanga, Hobhouse and Dangamvura suburbs of Mutare as well a guest team from Mutasa district.

“The youth participating in this tournament are predominantly from underprivileged areas and suburbs of Mutare where drug and alcohol abuse is rife. Soccer can occupy and influence the youth to stay away from such vices,” said tournament coordinator Blessing Mutsaka.

Prizes include soccer kits and balls, learning materials and school fees vouchers for outstanding teams, players and coaches.

Mutsaka said the tournament provides an opportunity for organisations dealing with youth issues to spread their message.

“As youth get into adolescence, HIV and sexual reproductive health issues become very pertinent. Knowledge of reproductive health issues and HIV prevention is important for youth as they make the transition into adulthood,” he said.

“The tournament presents a captive target audience for spreading messages on such issues and other important issues such as prevention of drug and alcohol abuse and career guidance.”

The semi-final and final matches will be held at Sakubva Stadium tomorrow.