PE win invitational soccer tourney
IT was treble celebration for Prince Edward players after they powered their way to the Hammer and Tongues, St George’s College Invitational soccer tournament glory over the weekend.
The Prince Edward Tigers, inspired by exciting forward Mafiosi Chihweta, overcame battling Goromonzi 2-0 in a thrilling final, to cap a memorable tournament in which they did not concede a goal.
Instead they plundered 12 goals in the nine matches they played at the tournament, with the pair of Eaglesvale and Kutama College the only teams to restrict them from scoring.
Both Eaglesvale and Kutama featured in goalless draws against Prince Edward in the group stage. Once they got into their groove Prince Edward were unstoppable and the likes of Westridge who were thumped 3-0 and St Paul Musami who fell 2-0 felt the might of the Tigers attack in their Pool B matches.
St John’s College were the next to be dispatched when being knocked out in the quarter-final following a 3-0 hiding before Prince Edward also accounted for Christian Brothers College 2-0 in the semi-final.
Chihweta put the icing on the cake to Prince Edward’s dominance when he was voted the tournament’s Best Player.
The champions also had in their ranks another talented player, left back Farai Tsinakwadi, whose work rate and roving moves down the channel also caught the eye.
The duo of Chihweta and Tsinakwadi’s exploits must have also charmed a number of watching coaches and former players, who included Warriors legend Moses Chunga, former Dynamos great Clayton Munemo, ex- Black Aces goalkeeper Emmanuel Nyahuma, Steve “Cobra’’ Chikodzi, who starred for CAPS United and Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches Association president Bheki Nyoni.
Skipper Tsinakwadi also led four other teammates in making it into the tournament’s All Star team that was picked by a panel of experts.
These included Ryan Bvirwa, Courage Isaac, Munashe Genesis and Chihweta.
Coach Norman Taruvinga and his charges were naturally over the moon after winning the Hammer and Tongues tourney that was also marking its return after a Covid-19 induced hiatus. “It (winning), means a lot for the boys, especially after having been away from the tourney since 2017. To get an invitation alone was greeted with a lot of cheer,’’ Taruvinga said.
Taruvinga who has over the years worked with the Dynamos development squad, welcomed the return of the tourney, which he believes provides young players with a platform to shine.
“They boys like to showcase and they prioritise that ahead of winning. But since they play to entertain, everything seems to flow and they get the results.
“It’s what we emphasise as a system.
“It was also amazing to go through the tournament without conceding a goal . . . absolutely insane considering that we had a very young goalkeeper.
“The technical team and myself are pleased with the performance of the boys. Some showed they can stand up and represent the school. Those whom we have had for a while, showed great maturity, especially the captain of the team,’’ Taruvinga said.
“So when we assess ourselves, we believe we are working well with the boys.
“It’s always great, after a rather slow start, to see boys shift gears and get into travelling as the games grew.’’
Nyoni of BN Academy, who was one of the tournament’s organisers was also impressed with talent that was on show from Day One.
“All went very well and I was so impressed with the latent that I saw.
“I was so happy that the boys were of basically the same age and the issues of cheating was never raised, there was no age-cheating,’’ Nyoni said. Ny0ni challenged local coaches to infuse young talent in their Division One and Premiership teams.
“There is a lot of talent out there, the clubs and the academies seem to be doing a lot of good work but the biggest challenge which we have in Zimbabwe is where do these players go after school?
“Where do they go after they have left academies and the junior clubs? Where exactly do they need to go, they need to go to Division and to PSL and there are some that I saw who can go straight to the PSL.