Gifford High School have intensified preparations for the national finals of the Copa Coca-Cola Under-17 Youth Football Championships to be held in Marondera at the weekend.
Gifford beat last year’s Bulawayo Metropolitan Province representatives Mpopoma High School 3-1 on July 15 to proceed to the national finals. Coach Nathan Tshuma yesterday told NewsDay Sport that the school started preparations for Mashonaland East on July 18, straight after beating Mpopoma and the boys are geared for the tournament.
“We have intensified preparations for the competition and we are making progress. The provincial finals went on well according to plan and that was to play attacking football. The boys played to that instruction and we are working hard on bringing the trophy to Bulawayo from Marondera,” Tshuma said.
Tshuma will be taking 20 boys to Mashonaland East that include captain Mthokozisi Sibisi and goalkeeper Nkosana Maseko, who was crowned the Goalkeeper and Player of the Tournament in the provincial finals.
Bukhosi Sibanda (Bantu Rovers juniors), Andile Tshuma (Railstars), Isheanesu Nyaronga who plays for MK Lions of Pumula and Tonderai Madzikura of Street Set are also part of the team travelling to Marondera.
Gifford stormed into the finals in the provincials which they hosted after beating Sobukazi High School 3-2 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 deadlock in regulation time while Mpopoma got the better of Cowdray Park Secondary School 2-1.
Four other schools — Green Gables, Pumula, Induna, and Ihlathi — fell in the quarter-finals of the provincial finals at Gifford. Tshuma was voted the Coach of the Tournament in the provincial finals competition.
Last year’s national final of the tournament was won by Dewure High School of Masvingo