Nkosilathi Sibanda and Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
MEMBER of the House of Assembly for Pelandaba-Mpopoma Joseph Tshuma has embarked on an ambitious sport development programme to unearth talent in underprivileged communities in his constituency.
Tshuma has held soccer tournaments over the years pitting different teams in his constituency and after a short hiatus, the MP returned to sponsor 16 social soccer teams drawn from Mpopoma, Pelandaba, Iminyela and Matshobana suburbs.
Last Sunday, Tshuma’s tourney marked a carnival atmosphere at Bulawayo’s home of social soccer, Ndola Stadium in the heart of Iminyela. Sport fans, football legends, businessmen and councilors thronged the stadium to watch the teams battling it out.
Matshobana FC were crowned winners of the J Tshuma Tourney when they beat Ndola Stars 5-4 on penalties after the match had ended nill all in regulation time.
Matshobana walked away with $200, a soccer ball and full kit. Ndola Stars were given $150, while the losing semi-finalists took home $100 each. Tshuma also gave all participating teams football kits.
According to Tshuma, sport teams in his constituency will in future be afforded a chance to compete in other sport codes that include netball, five-a-side football and athletics.
“This is the start of bigger things to come for people of Pelandaba-Mpopoma area. Here we started what no one has dared to do by sponsoring a 16-team football tournament. My interest as an MP is to help identify football talent that is hardly exposed. By so doing, we are celebrating talent, renewing hope amongst our youths and helping fight social vices through sport. I promise that in the near future I am going to turn this soccer tournament into a bigger sport extravaganza that will encompass other sport codes,” said Tshuma.
He further pledged to sponsor the tournament every year as a way of empowering the community in line with the Government’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
Guest of honour Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda praised Tshuma’s initiative of supporting his constituency through soccer.
“This is what we call empowering the community of Pelandaba-Mpopoma by using football, the world’s most popular sport. As Zifa, we are pleased with what honourable Tshuma is doing here. In as much as this tournament is played for by social soccer teams, it is a pedestal for talent development, bringing together communities and uplifting people’s lives. What pleases me is that people came in their numbers. Everyone has seen that football is the only sport that can unite people in the constituency and one hopes that this spirit will prevail in future,” said Sibanda.