Chenhuta, Waddilove in maiden Copa nationals

HARARE – Waddilove High School arrived at Friday’s Copa Coca-Cola provincial finals with odds heavily staked against the Mashonaland East-based side who were participating at that level for the first time in the tournament and school’s history.

In the Copa’s 30-year history since its launch in the country, Waddilove could only go as far as the district level and lived in the shadows of their neighbours Chemhanza and Rusununguko high schools, who have at least put Mashonaland East Province on the map by lifting this prestigious tournament.

In fact, Rusununguko are the defending champions after pulling a Houdini Act last year by winning the tournament with an Oscar Magejo-led 10-man squad after some of their players were vetted out for allegedly not meeting the required age group.

And on Friday, very few were giving Waddilove a chance even to go past their group having been paired against the defending champions Rusununguko. But the Marondera-based side defied the odds and went on to top their group displaying some exciting football.

It was for everyone to see how Waddilove has immediately benefitted from their recent marriage with Castle Lager Premiership side Harare City as their players displayed the highest degree of discipline, technique and tactical awareness as a result of their highly-qualified coaches from the Sunshine Boys.

Waddilove showed little respect to their opponents en route to dispatching St Pauls Musami 2-0 in the final where Munashe Hungwe and Paradzai Purazi scored in each half to ensure they will be at the Copa Coca-Cola national finals for the first time.

Their coach Ben Gomo is already dreaming of going all the way and bring the trophy home.

“We are so excited to be going to the nationals for the first time. We came determined this time around and the boys showed they are willing to take on anyone,” Gomo told the Daily News on Sunday.

“From here we are not going to stop preparing. We are now looking forward to do well at the nationals. It will be sweet if we can bring the trophy home. We want to make sure the boys are well prepared mentally and physically.

“We are very grateful to Harare City as well as our partnership is enabling the boys to learn from some of the most qualified coaches.

“We know it will not be easy at the nationals but we want to go there and leave a lasting impression.”

Waddilove boasts some exciting talent in their current squad that includes stylish Michael Mhlanga, full back Tadiwa Mukosera and utility Marvel Mbedzi.

In the girls’ category Chenhuta Secondary School will represent Mash East after beating St John’s 3-0 in the final following penalty shoot-out after the game had ended goalless in regulation time.

It was also the first time that Chenhuta qualified for the nationals.