Black Rhinos are this year’s winners of the Harare Province Junior Football League under 16 tournament, beating Rusungunuko 4-1 on penalties after the match had ended nil all in regulation time at Prince Edward High School in Harare.
Harare Province Junior Football League, an independent football league, held an under 16 tournament under the theme: ‘Catch Them Young – Let’s See How They Have Developed,’ which attracted some 10 teams and was graced some football legends.
Teams were divided into two groups and then played matches on a round robin basis before the top two teams from each group proceeded to the semi-finals.
Rusungunuko beat Eland 7-nil in the semi-final to book a date with Black Rhinos who drew with Total one-all and won 4-3 on penalties.
Eland drew 1-all with Total in the 3rd place play-off match and won 5-3 after penalties.
Chairman of the league, Cyprian Jaji appealed to corporates to support the league and grassroots football development.
“This is the first stage of development but sadly, we have no sponsorship despite running for a number of years. The league has produced a lot of talented youngsters among them Tino Kadewere. All clubs should adopt a junior policy and support our development thrust,” he said.
Black Rhinos coach, Droment Chirova bemoaned lack of recognition by both the football mother governing body, ZIFA and the highest league, the Premier Soccer League which he said should take a leading role in developing talent.
“Sadly we are not being recognised by the football authorities in the land. We want these juniors to play in the stadia as curtain raisers so that players get a feel and used to the stadium atmosphere in front of huge spectators at an early age. We also need to revert to an old system where each club had junior structures,” said.
Rusununguko’s Panashe Mutimbanyoka was voted Player of the Tournament, Farai Mutswa of Black Rhinos was the top goal scorer with 6 goals and Fastos Zindonda of Cad Stars was the Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
Several football legends including Justice Majabvi, Dickcon Choto, Ephraim Mazarura and Jack Mutandagai graced the tournament.