CHEMHANZA and Chidyamakono defied all odds to win their first-ever Copa Coca-Cola boys’ Under-16 and girls’ Under-17 football finals at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare yesterday.
SUKOLUHLE MTHETHWA IN MUTARE
After falling 2-0 in the final of last year’s competition to Vainona in Victoria Falls, Chidyamakono finally got it right this time beating the Harare side by the same score line to win the coveted title in the girls’ section.
Mashonaland East representatives Chemhanza grabbed the boys’ title with a 3-1 victory over Mashonaland Central’s Howard.
Chemhanza and Chidyamakono received $6 500 and $3 000 respectively, plus floating trophies with coaches from either side getting $200.
Vainona were looking for their third successive title, but a goal from Tryphine Muzemba and Sesedzai Mutema denied them the title, as they went into this year’s competition as favourites to retain the championship.
Vainona received $2 000 for being runners-up while Howard got $5 000.
Takura Chipembere thrust Chemhanza into the lead in the 29th minute before Learnmore Bvochora converted a spot-kick after he was brought down in the penalty box by Willard Ngoche.
Bvochora registered his name on the score sheet again, getting the third for his side with a beautiful flick-in in the 43rd minute beating Howard goalkeeper Lovemore Mutemaringa. Chidyamakono coach Nyakurai Nhamo was elated for winning the trophy.
“We are very excited that we have won the title. It is sweet revenge for us because we lost to Vainona in the finals last year. I am happy because my players listened to instructions and that helped us. We made intensive training and it is was a continuous process.
Chemhanza coach Never Mhandu was also over the moon after lifting their first-ever Copa Coca-Cola title.
“It means a lot for us to win this title. We worked very hard from the groups stages. We were playing a passing game and we were keeping the ball and playing modern football,” he said.
Mhandu was named the Coach of the Tournament.
To get to the finals Chemhanza beat Zvishavane 4-0 in the quarter-finals before getting the better of Churchill, coached by former Zimbabwe international striker Joel Luphahla and former Amazulu and Dynamos player Gift Zvavanhu, 4-3 on penalties in the semi-finals.
Howard cruised through to the finals 4-2 over Gaza on a penalty lottery in the quarter-finals before getting a crucial 5-4 victory over Sakubva in another penalty shoot-out in the semi-final.
In the girls’ category, Chidyamakono beat Matinunura 3-0 in the quarter-final and Selonga 5-4 on penalties in the semi-finals. Vainona won 1-0 against Mbare in the quarter-final and St Francis 1-0 in the semi-finals.
Sakubva pocketed $3 000 after scooping the bronze medal while Selonga also won bronze and received $1 500 in the process.