Zimbabwe international midfielder Marvelous Nakamba has announced plans to host a junior football tournament in the country next month as he continues to give back to the community through his Marvelous Nakamba Foundation (MNF).
Named the MNF Youth Invitation Tournament, the competition which will be held annually will see teams from across the country taking part in the competition which is scheduled for Bulawayo on 19 and 20 June.
In a statement, MNF said the main purpose of the tournament is to give a platform for young players to showcase their talent.
“Nakamba broke into the first team (of Bantu Rovers) at 17 years, and we believe that is when young players should be introduced to the top echelons of the game if they are to mature early.
“There seems to be a thought that only those who have reached 21-22 years are ready for the top-flight, which we believe is a wrong perception,” said MNF.
The inaugural edition will only have eight sides, namely Highlanders, Dynamos, Njube Spurs, Hwange Dynamo, Albun Academy, Bulawayo City, Ajax Hot Spurs and Chicken Inn and will be open for young players aged 17 and below.
The organisers have already sent requests to the Sports and Recreation Commission, through the Zimbabwe Football Association to host the event.
According to the tournament rules, the teams shall be placed in two groups of four with matches being played in a round-robin format and the two top teams in each group will proceed to the semi-finals.
Pool A winners will play Pool B runners up and vice versa in the semis with the winners proceeding to the finals.
The organisers will provide kits to be used during the tourney
The launch of the football tournament comes after Nakamba recently has paid first term school fees for 1 000 students from less privileged backgrounds through his foundation.
The 26-year-old midfielder who plays for Aston Villa in the English Premier League launched the MNF last year as part of his way of giving back to the local community by creating a platform for youth development and life skills.
There are also plans to set up a soccer academy in Bulawayo with the City Council availing five hectares of land for the project.
It is envisaged that youngsters may follow in the footsteps of Nakamba, who at the age of 15 had his first professional football contract with local side Bantu Rovers FC. — New Zimbabwe