Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
CHURCHILL Boys High School were yesterday reminded of their good old days when they excelled in the Copa Coca-Cola football tournament after they were saluted for their participation and success by the sponsors. This year’s tournament is the 30th edition and, as part of their celebrations for the milestone, the sponsors had the Copa Coca-Cola@30 trophy tour, which saw three schools – Mzilikazi, Hippo Valley and Churchill – who have won the competition a record four times, being honoured.
They first went to Mzilikazi in Bulawayo, then Hippo Valley in Chiredzi and yesterday they moved to Churchill in Harare where they presented the school with textbooks.
Churchill lifted the trophy in 1992, 1994, 2000 and 2008.
The sponsors have also promised a bigger and better event at the national finals running from July 12 to 14 in Zvishavane.
Speaking at yesterday’s function, Coca-Cola senior brand manager Vee Chibanda said since they were already investing in football, they wanted to give the schools something different, but that which complements the schools system.
“We know our curriculum just recently changed, so we decided to complement our football with honouring the schools with books.
“We believe that a student is not whole if they only play sport and do not have the education that is required.
“We want to encourage all children who do sport to also focus on their studies, so that they can be a complete sportsperson who is well educated.
“So that’s why we decided to honour schools with books this year,” said Chibanda.
The tournament is the country’s most prestigious and best sponsored secondary schools football competition.
It has proved to be a platform for aspiring football stars to showcase their talents and some have gone on to excel in local leagues and outside the country.
Chibanda promised an exciting event this year.
“Next week we have got the finals, so we expect it to be a big event. We want also to bring in some legends who will come and attend that event.
“To make it a big day, we want the legends to come and showcase their talents, even though they have now grown old, to show the kids what soccer is all about before we play the finals.
“So it’s going to be a big event for us,” said Chibanda.
Although Churchill will not be among the schools that will be in Zvishavane after losing in the provincial competitions, deputy head Doreen Shoko said they remain hopeful of the future and thanked the sponsors.
“Good things are coming, I think you have seen our teams improving, so it means we expect something to happen very soon. From next year, I think we will improve our teams.
“As the Churchill family, we are grateful for the donation made by Copa Coca-Cola. It will help us to improve on our academic side.
“But, already, we are at the top in our academics, so it’s not like we are just concentrating on sport.
“We are also concentrating on academics,” said Shoko.
Some of the players from the school who went on to excel include Elasto Kapowezha Lungu, Norman Maroto, Partson Jaure and George Mbwando among others.
Yesterday’s function was graced by Delta Regional sales manager Northern Region Rold Baloyi, provincial education director for Harare Christopher Kateera, Nash secretary-general Moses Mukoyi and head in charge soccer Northern Central Anthony Mhene, among other dignitaries.