IT’S good to have goals in life, especially when your life is football.
Indeed, a group of over 400 young players from all over the country will on Saturday and Sunday find that their dedication and love for the game is beginning to pay off.
Eight teams have been selected out of hundreds of others to take part in the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba Under-17 football tournament.
Made up officially of 20-member squads, Highlanders, Chicken Inn, Dynamos, Bulawayo City, Ajax Hotspurs, Hwange Dynamo, Majesa Academy and Njube Spurs the youngsters will march into the cauldron of White City Stadium Main and B Arenas for a contest that has Marvelous Nakamba- Zimbabwe’s only English Premier Soccer League — as the brains behind.
The tournament was officially launched in Borrowdale in Harare last week, the breath-taking playing kits were unveiled and it was revealed that all the eight teams would also get full tracksuits for 20 people for each team.
It all means it’s all systems go and no wonder Nakamba (28) is feeling on top of the world.
“It’s thrilling that after all the waiting, finally the time is here for our youngsters to get to enjoy the same privileges that even people like us went through in our junior academies before.
Grassroots football is a very important part of the survival of football, we have all come through the system of being afforded chances at an early stage and it’s befitting that we continue the tradition of supporting grassroots sports.
“We accept the approval from the custodians of football and it’s our hope that this tournament will raise the curtain to the commencement of junior football in the country, this will be a stepping stone to a Covid complying football era,” said Nakamba, a son to former Hwange goalkeeper Antony Nakamba.
The tournament director Nduduzo Sibanda said in addition to football, more entertainment would be provided for the fans who will throng White City Stadium for the two-day event.
Highlanders were drawn in the same group as Njube Spurs, Dynamos and Majesa Academy while the other group has Chicken Inn, Bulawayo City, Ajax Hotspurs as well as Hwange Dynamo.
For Marvelous Nakamba Foundation, more goes into the sport of soccer than just “kicking the ball”, emphasis is on hard work and work ethic and last Sunday Nakamba took time to support the Mashwede initiative by taking part in the Mashwede Marathon in Harare.
It was his view that if he could still run a marathon, then the Under-17 boys should be able to light up their tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
This happened while most European-based stars are on holiday and the Aston Villa midfielder continued to make the best of the off-season to create synergies for his foundation.
Nakamba partnered Unicef in raising awareness against child marriages, and made a guest appearance at the inaugural Mashwede Holdings Road Race.