ABOUT 400 young people are expected to take part in an annual youth soccer tournament aimed at youth development in Mutare.
The tournament, which is in its third edition, will for this year include girls’ teams, as organisers cast their net wider.
At least 16 teams from the Mutare Zifa Junior League as well as youths from high-density suburbs of Chikanga, Sakubva, Dangamvura and Hobhouse will take part.
BY STAFF REPORTER
Guest teams from surrounding rural districts of Mutare, Marange and Chipinge will also take part in the tournament, which is sponsored by the National Aids Council, Mutare Rotary Club, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council Youth Centre and some individuals committed to junior development.
The Election Resource Centre and ZimRights are also supporting this year’s tournament.
Apart from action on the field of play, the tournament provides a platform to spread positive messages for youths growing up in suburbs ravaged by poverty and vices such as drug and alcohol abuse. Partner organisations will also use the tournament to educate youths about health and social issues affecting their age group.
“As youths get into adolescence, HIV and sexual reproductive health issues become very pertinent. Knowledge of reproductive health issues and HIV prevention is important for youths as they make the transition into adulthood,” said tournament co-ordinator Blessing Mutsaka.
“The tournament presents a captive target audience for spreading messages on such issues and other important issues such as prevention of drug and alcohol abuse and career guidance,” said Mutsaka.
Knockout rounds set for today will culminate in semi-final and final matches to be played at Sakubva Stadium tomorrow.
Over 280 boys from 14 teams participated in the tournament which was watched by many other youths within Mutare last year.