Collin Matiza Sports Editor
ADMIRE Masenda, the president of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC), has urged aspiring local young athletes to remain disciplined and dedicated if they are to make it in the tough but rewarding world of sport. Addressing scores of young athletes who, on Sunday, converged at Kubatana Primary School in Epworth to watch the finals of the third edition of the annual Mwalimu Kumbula Soccer Tournament, the guest of honour, Masenda, said self-discipline “is the bridge between goals and accomplishment” in sport.
“As ZOC we are always on the look out for talent or talented athletes, whom we would like to compete in all the disciplines (at the Olympic Games), we are always looking for runners who will compete against the likes of (the now-retired) Jamaican star sprinter Usain Bolt. We are also looking for people who will play football at the Olympic Games, just like what the women’s soccer team, the Mighty Warriors, did last year in Rio de Janeiro. We know that the talent we are looking for is among some of you who are here for this tournament. But the message I would like to deliver to you and coming from us (as ZOC) is that for one to be successful in sport, which is now very competitive, you need to be disciplined and dedicated. It’s not like you just wake up in the morning and decide to go and take part in any sporting discipline. You must have a programme which will see you practising day in and day out; and that’s how you’ll be successful in the world of sport. So, we are encouraging discipline and dedication. The other thing we encourage at the Olympics is fair play and respect.
“But what I witnessed at this tournament is that there was a lot of fair play and respect and I’m quite sure no one among the losers is crying foul over biased officiating . . . There was fair play and the winners must also respect their opponents and that what makes sport exciting. Sport is used by many to unite the community and even at the Olympics we encourage this,” said Masenda, who also asked the sponsors of the tournament to include women’s football in next year’s event. After addressing the athletes, Masenda later presented trophies, medals and soccer kits to the winners of this year’s Mwalimu Kumbula Soccer tournament, which is the brainchild of one of Epworth’s most illustrious sons – Musekiwa Kumbula – who named it after his son, Mwalimu, after discovering the passion he had for football and felt the urge to uplift the community by giving opportunities to young and talented footballers there.
The tournament was inaugurated in 2015, with less than 20 junior and senior teams taking part, but the last two editions of this event have seen the numbers of the participating sides growing as more than 50 teams took part in the knock-out stages of this year’s competition. This year, there were 18 teams in the seniors division and an equal number in the Under-13 and 16 age-groups. The teams were drawn from the Epworth Area Zone League and Epworth Pools emerged as the top dogs of this year’s tournament after beating Zawali 3-0 in the final of the seniors division on Sunday, with all their goals coming in the first half through Prince Rupiya, Arnold Manene and Tinotenda Fengu.
In the Under-16s final, Young Stars edged Foothills 1-0, with Kudakwashe Sibanda grabbing their solitary goal, while Saints beat Clue Wibe 5-4 on penalties in the Under-13s final after the two teams had played out a goalless draw in regulation time. Young Munyaradzi Bhaudhi (12), a Grade Six pupil at Chizungu Primary School in Epworth, was named the best player of the tournament in the Under-13 age-group and Musekiwa Kumbula pledged to pay his school fees for the whole year in 2018. Sunday’s finals of the 2017 Mwalimu Kumbula Soccer Tournament was graced by a number of prominent people from Epworth, a grossly underdeveloped dormitory of Harare situated on the eastern periphery of the capital, and they included the councillor for Ward Three, Elson Muhambi, who said the area was awash with talented young athletes who take part in a number of sporting disciplines.