HARARE – In an era where the hunt for young talent is never ending, 14-year-old Tatenda Tumba has set himself on the right path to stardom.
The Chemanza High School student underlined his credentials as one player to watch out for in future after turning the 2013 COPA Coca-Cola international camp into one man show.
The attacking midfielder was perhaps the cornerstone of Zimbabwe’s success.
The midfield wizard scooped the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament as Zimbabwe Under-16 COPA Coca Cola rose to become the champions of the 2013 COPA Coca-Cola international camp.
He also went on to win the Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament after netting six of Zimbabwe’s 13 goals in the six games they played.
Tumba was ably complemented by the defensive link pairing of Learnmore Muyambo and Washington Parira as Zimbabwe got off to a dream start at the COPA camp and never looked like faltering.
The side first thumped the Harambee Warriors of Kenya 6-1 on Friday morning before beating Central Asian outfit Kazakhstan 3-1 later in the day.
The Never Mhandu coached went on to edge Uganda 1-0 before playing out a goalless draw against Algeria to book their place in the semi-finals where they would face two-time defending champions Zambia.
They beat Zambia 1-0 courtesy of Tumba’s solitary strike.
“That was one of the best goals of the tournament. I call him ‘Diarra,” Mhandu said in reference to Tumba’s work rate.
“That young man was just terrific throughout the tournament,” he added.
Zimbabwe went on to beat Uganda 3-0 in the final to be crowned champions.
“It was discipline that won it for us in the end. You can imagine the team was picked from across all the provinces in Zimbabwe. We barely had time to practise together but we triumphed,” Mhandu added.
Tumba’s father, Musekiwa, said he was not surprised by his sons exploits in South Africa.
“In grade four he was already the best player at Nettleton Primary School. He had scholarship offers from Prince Edward School and Churchill but we choose Chemanza because we know that’s where he will get a good education,” said Musekiwa.
“He is only 14 but I now understand he has become one of the best players at Chemanza.”
For his individual brilliance Tumba together with Muyambo and Tatenda Munditi were selected into the All Star African team that will be part of the 2014 World Cup festivities in Brazil next year.
Goalkeeper Munditi was the rock in which the team built their success only conceding two goals in six games.
Coca-Cola senior franchise brand manager Mona Karingi said Zimbabwe’s performance was symbolic of the Coca Cola Crazy for Good movement.
“It was truly Crazy for Good that we were able to scoop most of the individual awards,” she said.
“This is why there 14 reasons we believe in Africa when a country who is underdogs rises to become African champions. Thank you for letting us celebrate our 25th anniversary in style.”