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Nakamba Foundation tourney launched

by Staff reporter
18 Jun 2022 at 07:25hrs | Views
GIANTS Dynamos and Highlanders' youth teams are set to headline the inaugural Marvelous Nakamba Foundation (MNF) Under-17 Invitational tournament which kicks off in Bulawayo next weekend.

The youth football extravaganza, which is set to be staged at White City Stadium on June 25 and 26, was launched in Harare on Thursday night.

Organisers said the two-day tournament is expected to bring together the best local junior football talent in the country.

Apart from Highlanders and Dynamos, other teams expected to sweat it out in the tournament include Njube Spurs, Hwange Dynamo, Albun Academy, Bulawayo City, Ajax Hotspurs, Chicken Inn and MAJESA of Mutare.

Zimbabwe international and Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, who is a beneficiary of a sound junior football development programme in Bulawayo, is sponsoring the tournament through his MNF foundation.

"Grassroots football is very important for the survival of the game. We all came through the system and we benefited because we were afforded the chance at an early stage. Henceforth, it is befitting that we continue with the tradition of supporting grassroots sport," said Nakamba, who was groomed at the famed Bantu Rovers Academy in Bulawayo.

He also had a stint at Highlanders' juniors during his formative years.

The participating teams in the inaugural tournament have been placed in two groups of four, with the top two at the end of the campaign expected to meet in the final.

Dynamos and Highlanders were placed in Group A, alongside Njube Spurs and MAJESA.

Group B has Chicken Inn, Bulawayo City, Ajax Hotspurs and Hwange Dynamo.

Chairman of the MNF Anthony Nakamba, father to the Villa midfielder, told guests at the launch of the tournament that it was important to give young players the platform to develop their careers.

"The Marvelous Nakamba Foundation was a dream that Marvelous has always had to make a positive difference in communities, especially for young people," said Anthony Nakamba.

He said the Villa midfielder stands as a role model to many young footballers.

Nakamba has demonstrated that nothing is impossible, having been raised in a poor background and rising all the way to join the club of millionaire footballers in England.

"You will all agree with me that Marvelous has profiled the country in a positive manner globally, thus making him a global sport ambassador and role model for many youths in Zimbabwe and Africa. Marvelous grew up as a boy who loved football and as his family, we nurtured his talent and made sure he got all the support to attain his dream.

"He made the grade to play in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League at the age of 15 at Bantu Rovers. His first break into the international arena began in France at Nancy from 2012 to 2014. He moved to Vitesse in the Netherlands from 2014 to 2016. From there he went on to Club Brugge in Belgium from 2016 to 2018 before settling at Aston Villa in England from 2019 to date.

"To my son Marvelous, thank you for being a great role model to young people. As a family and the Marvelous Nakamba Foundation we are proud of you. Continue to make a difference."

Nakamba, who is on the off-season break, has supervised the groundbreaking ceremony of the Marvelous Nakamba Sports Complex under construction on a 5.1-hectare piece of land in the Mahatshula suburb of Bulawayo.

Upon completion, the multi-purpose complex is expected to contain football fields, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball pitch, swimming pool, changing rooms, sitting area, ablution and a parking area.

Among the structures will be two buildings which will house administration offices, restaurant, gymnasium, conference centre and medical bay.

The MNF also pays fees for over 1 000 school children across Zimbabwe, under its Education Assistance Plan.

The Foundation's chief executive officer Zodwa Topera appealed to corporates to invest more in sport.

"The Marvelous Nakamba Foundations seeks to use sport as a tool to address different social challenges faced by youth such as drug abuse, substance abuse, idleness and sexual abuse. The foundation believes sport can be used to inculcate life skills and values that can mould young people into better citizens for our country.

"The foundation provides educational opportunities for children in disadvantaged communities in the country through paying school and examination fees.

We believe education is a fundamental right of every child. Let me take this opportunity to implore the corporate sector and partners to join hands with Marvelous Nakamba Foundation to positively impact young people. We believe together we can tackle challenges facing young people," said Topera.

Source - The Chronicle