HARARE – The fifth edition of the Willard Katsande Under-18 Soccer Tournament is expected to feature at least 14 or 16 teams from all over the country when it kicks off in Mutare on December 23.
The Kaizer Chiefs midfield enforcer has been bankrolling the tournament for the past four years and this year he intends to make it even bigger and better.
“My team on the ground back in Zimbabwe are in constant touch with the Junior League and they are making arrangements to make sure that all the nine provinces will send one team each,” Katsande told the Daily News from South Africa yesterday.
“Mutare as the host province will provide five or six teams which means this year it’s going to be a big tournament.
“I have already spoken to a number of well wishers who will be providing accommodation for all the teams that will be coming from outside Mutare which are expected to arrive on December 22.
“The two teams which are going to reach the final will walk away with medals and full playing kits from Kaizer Chiefs just like last year.”
The former Warriors captain, who led the side to qualification for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, feels the tournament has served its purpose in the last four editions.
“So far so good because there are a lot of players that were spotted at this tournament and are now playing in the Premier Soccer League or in the First Division,” Katsande said.
“One good example is Liberty Chakoroma who is now a household name back home and is a regular in the national team.
“I urge all the clubs in the PSL to send their scouts to watch the tournament next month and I’m sure they will be able to pick up a number of players they can sign for their teams.”
Katsande had hoped to bring some of his teammates from Amakhosi to be part of the action at the tournament but their schedule at Naturena was not permitting.
“Our plan is to host the group stages in the various other stadia in Mutare while the final will be at Sakubva Stadium,” he said.
“In order to draw a big crowd we had hoped to organise a friendly game between some of the PSL players in Mutare and some of my friends here at Kaizer Chiefs but it was not possible.
“We only got three days for our Christmas holidays from December 23 and should report back for training on the morning of December 27 but I have asked for special permission to travel to Zimbabwe early.”