Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
FOLLOWING the launch of this year’s COPA Coca-Cola 15 years-and-Under boys and girls football tournament on Wednesday, defending champions, Pamushana High School, say they are ready to retain their title.
They hosted the launch ceremony on Wednesday and the tournament will, this year, feature the 15-and-Under boys and girls, shifting from the Under-15 age-group.
The competition kicks-off on May 24 with the zonal games.
Pamushana High School coach, Bernard Matenga, said his team will do its best to defend their title.
“I think we still have everybody here, probably with one or two additions. So, we are actually maintaining the same team with a few changes,’’ said Matenga.
“The preparation, obviously, will be thorough with focus on defending the trophy and this is very difficult.
“So, obviously, we know that playing the defending champions always inspires the opponents to raise their game.
“We will work very hard, we are trying to work extra hard, in fact, to do better than what we have done before.
“We know that we have to be at our best if we are to defend this trophy. We will make sure we try to defend, we know what is awaiting us and we have to be prepared for that.’’
The defending champions were drawn in Group D against winners from Mashonaland East and Midlands.
Mashonaland East and Midlands have some of the strongest teams with the former providing winners in the form of Rusununguko, as well as two-time winners Chemhanza.
Guinea Fowl, from the Midlands, reached the finals last year.
“I want to believe that the draw is fine, but I think Group D is a bit tough, basing on what happened last year,’’ said Matenga.
“It will be a bit difficult, but I know we will try our best, we will go through.’’
Pamushana, who are seasoned campaigners, will be vying for their third title.