MANJOLO FC are the inaugural winners of the Savanna Tobacco sponsored Pacific Cup after beating Dumbwe 5-4 after a penalty shootout in a football tournament held at Manjolo Business Centre in Binga on Saturday. Eight teams took part in the tournament for clubs from the district.
To get to the final Manjolo, who played more constructive football from the quarter-finals than most of the teams, laboured in their first game. They were held to a 1-1 draw by Siabbanga who scored through Admire Munkuli.
Victor Muleya was on target for the Pacific Cup winners, before Manjolo edged Siabbanga 2-0 in penalties.
In the semi-finals Manjolo beat Sikalenge 2-1.
Sikalenge had Never Munsaka to thank for the 1-0 win over popular Zambezi Tigers who appeared to have swayed the huge Keelamenda fan base their way.
Dumbwe, sporting a fading black Arsenal kit and a favourite for the sponsors’ delegation headed by chief operating officer, Tongesai Zvaravanhu, won 3-2 over Keelamenda in the quarter-finals. It is match that had ended 0-0 after regulation time.
Bulawayo Kraal were their next victims, 1-0.
Bulawayo Kraal, who were putting on a black and white strip, knocked out Denmark who wore blue colours and had fans pitted against each other as Bosso and DeMbare, won 4-3 on penalties. The teams were goalless after normal time.
The final attended by almost 3,000 fans was an exciting encounter played at break neck pace.
Good defending prohibited either side from scoring and the lottery decided Dumbwe’s fate.
While some of the players appeared to thrive on athleticism, there were others who looked promising. They had good ball control, skill and vision.
Zvaravanhu said there was a lot of untapped talent in rural areas which needed such exposure.
“There is so much talent in the rural areas. Tournaments such as these can only help expose it to talent scouts. We were impressed with the organisational capabilities of the locals and that the event went smoothly without incident. This will now be an annual event and we hope this way we can also contribute to the development of the sport and well disciplined youths in the district,” said Zvaravanhu.
Bumi Mwiinde of Manjolo was the tournament’s top goalscorer, Siyaso Mwiinde who pulled out a number of saves from the quarter-finals was adjudged to be the most outstanding goalkeeper.
Zwaita Mudenda won the Player of the Tournament award.
Councillor for Ward Seven in Binga (Manjolo area) Juma Mleya commended Savanna Tobacco for sponsoring the tournament.
“This is good for the community. The sponsors have to be commended for bringing the tournament to Binga. We hope some of these youths could end up playing professional football and uplift their families’ standards of living.
Former Bosso coach Mkhuphali Masuku was at the tournament giving hints to coaches and players at the event.