The M&H Educational Suppliers yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to the development of junior football in this country when it poured in US$10 000 for this year's Under-17 M&H schools soccer tournament at a colourful launch held at Mashwede Towers in Harare.
This year will mark 16 years of partnership between NASH and M&H Educational Suppliers and a total of 12 schools will battle it out for the glittering trophy at the national finals set for July 21 at Churchill Boys High.
The tournament's sponsor, Alex "Dr Mash" Mashamhanda was delighted at the great marriage between his company and NASH that has seen players churned out at this annual event and go on to represent the national team after being moulded into complete players.
Mashamhanda said his wish is to see "in person" this tournament grow from strength to strength and pledged to continue pouring some funds into the coffers of NASH "probably for the next five years".
"I have built a good relationship with NASH over a record 16 years and the partnership has seen the school heads running the tournament professionally and in a transparent manner," Mashamhanda said. The local junior football's loyal sponsor also hailed last year's national finals held at Hermann Gmeiner High School in Bindura where Chibi High from Masvingo Province lifted the trophy.
He hopes this year's national finals at Churchill will surpass last year's event.
Johnson Madhuku, NASH president, hailed the sponsor Mashamhanda for the loyalty that he has shown to the NASH family over the last 16 years considering that he is an individual sponsor.
Madhuku said despite the fact that this year' package, which falls short of last year's sponsorship of US$15 000, they value the great marriage that has been in existence and the bond has grown strong between the two parties.
"The sponsorship package by Mashamhanda is very much appreciated by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture. M&H is playing a significant role in supporting the objectives set by the responsible ministry," Madhuku said.
Madhuku also said that they would make sure that schools across the country promote Mashamhanda's company's M&H Educational Suppliers by buying their products that is scattered in various towns.
During the official launch at Mashwede Towers, it was revealed that the Zimbabwe Under-17 national team will be participating at the regional games, COSASA tournament, set for Namibia from August 28 to September 4 this year.
Journalists, who will be covering the national finals of the M&H Educational Suppliers Under-17 soccer tournament, will select 18 players that will form the core of team to represent Zimbabwe in Namibia.
A look at the past winners of the tournament from 2000 to date shows that Masvingo Province has dominated this annual event.
Christian College climbed to the winners' podium in 2001 with Pamushana winning it twice in 2005 and 2006 while Mkwasine won it in 2007 before Chibi High hoisted the trophy back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.
Harare Province won the glittering trophy twice, also back-to-back, with Lord Malvern climbing the winners' podium in 2002 and 2003.
Mashonaland West had their share of the cake in 2004 when Nemakonde Secondary School lifted the trophy with Mandedza High flying the Mashonaland East flag in 2008.
At the same function yesterday, a draw for the national finals was conducted with four teams being seeded.
Host school Churchill, defending champions Chibi High, Masvingo provincial winners Dewure Secondary and Harare provincial winners Mt. Pleasant, were the seeded teams.
Group A Group B
Churchill Chibi High
Gloag High Vimbayi Secondary
Chemhanza Tekwani High
Group C Group D
Dewure Mt Pleasant
Mutare Boys High Sikhulile
Howard High Amaveni High