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0a4d95c4 80ec 4402 b7fa b7870dd213afThe Zimbabwe UK based Under 17 Team made history yesterday by becoming the first youth football team to win major honours in the history of Zimbabwean football. They beat an experienced Moroccan team 3-1 on penalties after drawing 1-1 in 90 minutes. The final was played at Terrence Macmillan Stadium in London in front of a sizable crowed. The Young Warriors are composed of UK based professional players and academy players assembled by Team Zimbabwe UK into a national team barely 3 months ago.


The team sent shocking waves into the tournament after eliminating holders Nigeria 2-0 in the semi-finals in a game dubbed to be the of the tournament. Nigeria played 3 players that won the FIFA Under 17 World Cup last year. In the group stages the Young Warriors emphatically dismissed Somaliland 8-4 and Angola 1-0 to top the group with deserved 6 points. The tournament was graced by many football scouts from the UK, Spain and South America. After the tournament 3 players from the Zimbabwean team were invited for trials by two premier league clubs.


In the cup final Zimbabwe outclassed and outshined an experienced Moroccan team that had been playing together for more than 2 years. The Warriors dominated play from the first minute, they kept the ball well with forward movement and intricate one touch passes which resulted in a beautiful team goal in the 13th minute scored by Ryan Makwenge of Coventry United. The move was engineered by outstanding midfielder Wilson Chingoka who was also voted man of the match by the tournament sponsors Royal Air Moroc. Chingoka was combative in midfield and also scored a fantastic penalty in the shootouts. Twin brothers Simbarashe (goalkeeper) and Kudakwashe Mdianyama were also a joy to watch. Simba saved one penalty and did the Bruce Grobbelaar antics which led to Morocco missing 2 penalties. Panashe, Wilson and Shay converted from the spot for Zimbabwe sending wild celebrations and a pitch invasion from supporters.


Captain Seth Patrick of Northampton FC was outstanding throughout the tournament. He led both on and off the pitch. His imposing figure, skill on the ball and ability to pass long range and convert from set pieces made him the player of the tournament without debate. Sadly Leeds based Arnold Ndiweni “George Shaya” missed the final due to club commitments in Scotland. The little magician was a joy to watch in midfield, he is pregnant with skills and wowed the crowd each time he touched the ball exhibiting fancy foot work. Tyrone Sibanda another academy player also missed in the final due to injury. Giant Striker Paneshe Roberts was amazing, he scooped the golden boot the scoring 6 goals in the tournament which included a hatrick against Somaliland and the goal of the tournament, a wonderful 25 yard strike against Nigeria in the semi-finals.


After the victory Headcoach Chamu Musanhu and Team Manager Trevor Mazhande were full of praise for their team. They sighted hard work, discipline and good organisation as key to the team’s success. Both Trevor and Musanhu are now attached with premier league clubs West Bromwich Albion and Everton FC respectively. They played a unique 4-2-3-1 formation which suffocated opponents by starving them of the ball in midfield and automatically ignited fire upfront when the 3 midfielders sporadically joined the lone striker upfront when in possessions of the ball attacking.


After The Cup final Victory Team Zimbabwe UK CEO Marshall Gore who is also the Chairman of the African Football Association, the organisers of the tournament said “There is hope for Zimbabwean football if the Diaspora talent is well scouted, harvested and included in our main national teams. Gore confirmed that they’re on-going talks between Team Zimbabwe UK, ZIFA and the Ministry of Sports and Recreation in finding synergy and a structure way of incorporating The Zimbabwe Diaspora Football Development Strategy with local football development plans in Zimbabwe. We’re also planning on touring Zimbabwe next year in a bid to present to the nation some of our talented footballers not yet known in Zimbabwe”. In the build-up to the tournament both The Zifa President Dr Phillip Chiyangwa and Sports Minister Mkhosine Hlongwane sent messages to Team Zimbabwe UK wishing them the best of luck in representing the country.
Team Zimbabwe UK Chairman Liberty Masunda, also a former national team player was so grateful after the match. He thanked the Zimbabwe UK Diaspora community for coming out to support the team in large numbers throughout the tournament. He also thanked the project sponsors, Virtual Media Technologies, Greenshoot Specialised Care Services Limited who were represented by director Charles Murape at the final and Flexi Coventry Limited who were also represented by director Felix Marufu. During the tournament Team Zimbabwe UK was also supported by broadcasting partners Pamutengo Radio and E&N Design’s photography, the company that took the official pictures of all the Zimbabwe games.


Project Administrator Thomas Thomik advised the media that player’s welfare was priority at the tournament. “All our players stayed in a hotel during camp and they were paid their agreed winning bonuses soon after the match. We have won today but we’re not relaxing. As we celebrate, we’re also start to plan on defending the trophy next year and embarking on our fundraising mission for the trip to Zimbabwe scheduled for July 2017.

Key Facts about the tournament: The African Nations Cup UK is the biggest Community Football Tournament in the UK/Europe. It’s regulated by the English FA and organised by the African Football Association. The tournament has been running since 2006. Over the years some Premier League and African international players have played in the tournament the list include, Saido Berahino (West Brome); Gaël Bigirimana (Newcastle), Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace); Kagisho Dikgacoi (South Africa)

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Team Zimbabwe UK Under17 Squad


GOALKEEPERS: Simba Mdianyama


DEFENDERS: Jerrold Matsa; Wayne Ndlovu;Muss Stamburi;Sheldon Mudzidziwa;Pro Ncube; Frederick Malunga


MIDFIELDERS: Seth Patrick (captain); Tanaka Katsukunya;Tatenda Maramba;Tyrone Sibanda;Takunda Mushambi; Prince Banda;Arnold Ndiweni;Kenny Tafireyi; Wilson Chingoka


STRIKERS: Kuda Mdianyama; Panashe Robert;Martin Zulu;Ryan Makwenje;Bestone Matabile; Sharma Bako; Munashe Chirera; Shekinnah Chipfatsure


TECHNICAL TEAM: Trevor Mazhande (Team Manager) Chamu Musanhu (Headcoach); Kennedy Chihuri (Technical Director); Martin Chirimuta (Assistant Coach)


Team Zimbabwe UK Management

Chairman (Liberty Masunda)
Vice Chairman (Kudakwashe Zinhu)
Chief Executive Officer (Marshall Gore)
Project Administrator (Thomas Thomik)
Head of Football Development (Trevor Mazhande)
Board of Directors: Obey Murefu; Thabang Nare; Felix Marufu; Wellingtom Muringai
Organisation Aims: Team Zimbabwe UK (TZUK) is a Zimbabwean Diaspora football Organisation set up to harness Zimbabwe’s finest football and sporting talent that is hidden outside the country, in the UK and around the world as a result of rampant migration.
Organisation: Affiliated with the English FA
Date Formed: 1st of April 2012
Report was compiled by the Team Zimbabwe UK Press Desk Tel +44 7828068585. Website; thomast@ teamzimbabwe.co.uk; www.teamzimbabwe.co.uk

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