The Harare U21 Football League this weekend hosted an 8-team tournament which saw them battling for honours at Arcadia Sports Club in Harare.

Junior football, which used to be the bedrock of football development, is no longer in existence but several clubs and academies have since grouped to give youngsters an opportunity to showcase their talent.

The U21 self-sustaining league has gathered momentum with several well- established academies and new ones competing.

“We want to give youngsters an opportunity to showcase their talent. There was no junior football development and clubs did not have the depth required at top level,” said Moore Moyo, the Harare U21 League Chairperson.

Former national team player and Poland based defender, Dickson Choto owned DC Academy went head to head with the Patridge Muskwe owned Friendly Academy in an exciting final of the tournament.

The tournament attracted some of the capital’s top football academies such as Aces Youth Academy, owned by former national team coach and Swiss national, Marc Duvillard.

The academy has become a model for many because of the number of players it has churned out.

Several youth clubs in Harare have since sprouted to give youngsters an opportunity to showcase their talent and keep them off the streets and away from other undesirable activities.

Young players were equipped with football and other life skills through motivational talks by the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) and other former football stars present.

“We did not only teach the youngsters football skills but also life skills including the dangers of HIV and AIDS, doping, excessive smoking and drinking,” Eddie Mashiri said.

 “With the players, we went through how to prepare for life after football since not all are going to make into the top clubs or national teams,” David Sengu said.

It was family fun-filled weekend at Acardia Sports Club as several yester year stars attended and enjoyed watching the talent that was on offer.