BY HENRY MHARA
ZIMBABWE began their Copa Coca-Cola Africa Cup of Nations Under-16 boys football campaign on a high note after beating hosts Kenya and Mozambique in Group A matches at a waterlogged M-Pesa Foundation Grounds in Thika yesterday.
The Pathias Mauto-coached side started off with a 3-1 win over Kenya, who are the defending champions, with Luke Musikiri scoring a hat trick.
They then beat Mozambique 4-2 in the second game with Musikiri, a Prince Edward High School student, again getting on the score sheet. Dylan Gumba scored the other goals.
The two victories mean Zimbabwe are now on top of the group and qualify to the quarter-finals where they will meet Namibia.
There are four groups consisting of three teams each. The top two teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals. The teams will then head for the knock-out phase.
Zimbabwe have already bettered their performance from last year in the inaugural edition when they failed to go beyond the group stages.
Mauto’s squad is made up of players who were selected at the Copa Coca-Cola national finals held in Kadoma early this year.
Zimbabwean girls last year won a silver medal after they lost to Kenya in the finals. Kenya, who hosted the tournament last year, won both the boys and girls titles.
There are no girls at this year’s tournament with organisers saying the majority of participating countries had a challenge raising teams.
This year’s participating teams are Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Namibia and the host Kenya.