'Copa Coca-Cola a great stepping stone'

HARARE – Former Mighty Warriors striker Rudo Neshamba has commended the Copa Coca-Cola tournament for its impact in the development of women’s football in the country in recent years.

This year marks 30 years since this tournament was launched in 1989 before spreading to over 60 nations across the globe while in the girls’ category, it will be the eighth year.

And this year, the organisers revealed that the boys’ and girls’ prizes will be the same. In the past the boys’ used to pocket more money than the girls.

Speaking to the Daily News on the sidelines of the launch at Rusununguko High School, in Mashonaland East, Neshamba, who made her name as a prolific goal scorer for the Mighty Warriors, urged Coca-Cola to continuously give its support to the tournament.

Rusununguko High are the defending champions after beating Pfupajena High School in the boys’ category.

In the girls’ category, Chidyamakono are the defending champions after having won the tournament for the past five years in a row.

“These children have hidden talents and despite their various backgrounds, they need to nurture their talents,” Neshamba said.

“The investment made by Coca-Cola would go a long way in aiding them in terms of discipline, education, and their overall development.”

Last year’s edition of the Copa Coca-Cola adopted a new format as the organisers conform to the international standards as outlined by Fifa.

In the previous years, the junior schoolboy football tournament has run with the Under-16 age group for the boys but from last year it was limited to only Under-15 players.

This year’s tournament once again promises to have all the thrills especially in the boys’ category after defending champions Rusununguko High School were drawn in Group D against Masvingo and Mashonaland West.

Group A will see hosts Mandava High School facing winners from Harare and Manicaland in what promises to be an interesting group.

Group B will see winners from Midlands, Bulawayo and Matabeleland North facing each other.

In Group C, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Matabeleland South will battle it out for the big price.

The girls’ category saw defending champions Chidyamakono being drawn in Group C alongside winners from Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West while Group A will see hosts Zvishavane High facing Manicaland and Matabeleland South.

Group B will see winners from Midlands, Mashonaland East and Matabeleland North facing each while Group D was the pick in girls’ category after Masvingo, Harare and Bulawayo were draw to face each other.

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