Marondera High School will be the place to be this weekend as it plays host to the Copa Coca-Cola Under-16 football national finals, where 12 teams will battle for supremacy starting tomorrow.
Dewure High School from Masvingo province, who beat Dangamvura from Manicaland 2-1 in last year’s finals, qualified for the tournament by virtue of being the defending champions.
The other 11 teams qualified for the finals after winning the inter-provincial finals held early this month.
The other teams which will take part in the tournament include Prince Edward School (Harare), Mwenezi (Masvingo), Gifford High School (Bulawayo), Marondera High and Kandava Secondary School (Mashonaland East), Gaza High (Manicaland), Mosi-oa-Tunya (Matabeleland North), Vimbai Secondary School (Mashonaland West), Howard (Mashonaland Central), Manunure (Midlands) and Mzingwane (Matabeleland South).
The schools have been divided into four groups of three teams each with Dewure battling out with Prince Edward and Mosi-oa-Tunya while Group B has hosts Marondera High, Mzingwane and Manunure.
Vimbai Secondary School, Mwenezi Secondary School and Howard will battle it out in Group C and Group D which also features Kandava, Gifford and Gaza.
The team which finishes top in each of the four groups will progress to the semi-finals on Saturday before the third and fourth place play-offs and the final on Sunday.
The winners will get $6 000 while the first runners-up will walk away with $4 000 and the third-placed team will get
The fourth-placed team will get $2 000 and the rest of the teams will get $1 000 for participating.
The most disciplined team will walk away with $1 100. The player of the tournament, best goalkeeper, top goal scorer, best defender and best midfielder will get $100 each while the best coach pockets $200.
Besides the monetary rewards, national selectors will also use the tournament to select 20 players who will represent the country at the Under-17 African Youth Championships qualifiers next year.
The soft drinks manufacturing company, Coca-Cola, are sponsors the tournament, which brings together U-16 players from across the country with a view to unearthing and developing young football talents.