Goodwill Zunidza @ Chinotimba
Rising Victoria Falls-based side Nakaluba humbled their hosts Shanyai FC 2-1 in an absorbing final of the inaugural Shanyai Football Tournament staged at Chinotimba Stadium last weekend.
The pre-season competition featured six teams from the Zifa Matabeleland North Division 2A & 2B, all fine-tuning for the 2023 football season.
After round-robin preliminaries that swept aside two fellow Vic Falls teams Sao Paulo and Monte plus the visiting Hwange duo of Baobab Rovers and Ingangula it was the local clubs that graced the final late in the afternoon and Nakaluba prevailed over Shanyai with two classic first-half goals.
On their way to the final Nakaluba, who hardly looked a potential finalist, booked two goalless draws with Monte and Sao Paulo before scrapping a 1-0 win over Ingagula.
On the contrary, the colourful Shanyai outfit – formed in 2019 – upstaged Baobab Rovers 2-1 and Monte 1-0 while sharing the spoils with Sao Paulo 0-0.
Farai Mutsungumwa, tournament convenor and Shanyai Travel director, expressed satisfaction with the high turn-out of spectators and the top-shelf quality of football exhibited.
“The tournament exceeded our expectations. We had two-fold ambitions of assisting our team prepare for the season in which we are looking at promotion into Division One and also providing residents of Victoria Falls with entertainment,’’ said Mutsungumwa, who is based in the United Kingdom.
He added: “It was a joy to see people coming out in great numbers for football in a town much more accustomed to tourism activities than sport. I am sure they were not disappointed as it was a fun-filled day.”
Mutsungumwa’s company was also instrumental in bringing the Team Zimbabwe UK select side that played a series of friendly matches against PSL teams in 2019.
In a women’s football match that curtain-raised the tournament Ubuntu Queens from Bulawayo humbled local side Mosi High School girls 5-0.
Corporate officials in Zimbabwe’s newest city as well as Zifa officials from the Southern Region and Matabeleland North region were among the estimated three thousand spectators in the stadium.
Clevious Ncube, the Acting Zifa chairman (Mat North), said they had plans to stage the tournament again next year.
“It was our season-opening Charity Shield and the teams played some good brand of football. We thank our sponsors as every team went back home with a splendid kit. We are planning to invite more teams next year and make it an annual event,’’ said Ncube.