THE Sam Nzanga Mbare Primary Schools Football Tournament has been moved to next year.
The inaugural edition of the fiesta bankrolled by the former Black Rhinos man Nzanga, who is now based in the UK, was initially scheduled for this winter but the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has put paid to those plans.
With schools yet to open and the 2020 football season on hold, Nzanga yesterday said the Mbare Primary Schools Tournament will only kick off next year.
All the modalities, including equipment for the jamboree, had been put in place with partners in the UK vowing their commitment.
“It is sad that we have had to come out with a decision to cancel the tournament for this year due to COVID-19,” said Nzanga.
“The pandemic has claimed so many lives across the globe and everyone has been affected. Sometimes life can be like that and there are things in life which is beyond our control.
“It is very difficult for many families to put this behind but I will play my little part to bring back smiles to the community that brought me up. The tournament which had been scheduled for this winter has now tentatively been moved to next year around the same period.”
Nzanga met with the tournament sponsors, Gorilla Firm’s director Linds Moules in Oundle, England, last week and agreed to move the tournament to next year.
“I would like to thank our sponsors who have pledged to be with us. Moules has showed his passion to change lives.
“I also want to thank Robert Tipping, the managing director of Ate Media, and James Wellman, the national sales manager for Paligap LTD, who donated brand new football kits for the tournament alongside Linds Moules. I barely knew these people . . . All I did was ask and with their kind hearts they listened to me and offered their support.
“All I did is that I approached Linds when I used to work for a delivery company and asked if he would be interested in helping out in the football tournament that could potentially change lives in Zimbabwe.
“I could see Linds’ reaction straight away, the passion for changing lives. I could not miss that. Linds’ reaction was ‘Okay I will get back to you’ and within a week he had two other gentlemen willing to donate anything required for the tournament.
“I cannot thank them enough for setting such a good example to all of us on how human beings should live together . . . I have never seen so much love,” Nzanga said.
Tipping, the managing director of Ate Media, and Wellman, the national sales manager for Paligap, donated brand new football kits for the tournament alongside Moules.
“I cannot thank them enough for setting such a good example to all of us on how human beings should live together,” Nzanga added. “I will commit to junior football in Oundle ,not that they need me but I want to remain friends with them.”
Nzanga met Moules on Tuesday last week in Oundle where it was arranged that both him (Nzanga) and the tournament’s patron, Freya, who is Nzanga’s daughter, would pick the football kits donated to them for the tournament.
Freya expressed gratitude to Robert, James and Linds whenthe kit was handed over to her in one of the sponsors’ shop in Oundle. Freya also said that she will donate some of her dolls when she meets other children in Zimbabwe during the tournament.
The competition will see primary schools under the Mbare-Hatfield District battling it out for honours in a home and away format league in April next year.
The schools are grouped into two clusters — 14 and 15 — in which they will compete for the top two places on the table.
The top two teams from the two clusters will then compete for gold and silver medals.
The second-placed teams from both clusters will get an opportunity to fight for bronze.
There will be individual rewards for the top goalscorer, player of the tournament, goalkeeper of the tournament and most disciplined player of the tournament.
The participating primary schools are Shingirayi, Houghton Park, Ardbennie, St. Michael’s, Nharira (cluster 14), Gwinyayi, Chirodzo, Chitsere, Chiedza and St Peter’s (cluster 15). Nzanga hinted that there could be scholarships for grabs for those players who will excel in the tournament next year.
He said this will be one of the most fruitful junior football tournaments for primary schools in Mbare.
“I have the most amazing committee in Zimbabwe led by chairman Frank Farakezi that have kept going despite the Covid-19 pandemic. They have been constantly in touch via WhatsApp, planning for the next step after the pandemic. We are hoping that lives will get back to normal.”
Nzanga started his junior, education and football career at Shingirayi Primary School with the Mbare-based school once being home to former Dynamos striker Edward Sadomba and former CAPS United centre striker Leonard Tsipa.