CHIBUKU SUPER CUP DRAW OUT Tsholotsho, Hwange boldly declare intentions
RELEGATION threatened Tsholotsho FC and Hwange have boldly declared that they are gunning for the Chibuku Super Cup to make up for their disappointing league run.
The Premier Soccer League held the Chibuku Super Cup draw in Harare yesterday with Tsholotsho set to face championship favourites Caps United in the first round, while Hwange will battle it out against Ngezi Platinum Stars.
The first round of the tournament will be played on the weekend of September 16-18 and the quarter-finals between September 30-October 2. The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of October 21-23, with the final set for November 5. Winners of the tournament will take home $75 000.
While other coaches preferred to be diplomatic about the draw saying they will take each game as it comes, Tsholotsho coach Lizwe Sweswe said he was happy with the draw.
“I’m happy to have been drawn against Caps United in the first round because if you’re a man, you mustn’t be afraid of challenges. You need big challenges like facing a big team. Football is a men’s game and if you see yourself afraid of your opposition, then you’re not made for the big league,” said Sweswe.
“This game against Caps United will in itself motivate the boys to work harder and progress to the next stage, with the hope of going all the way to the final and lifting the cup.”
Tsholotsho are second from the bottom on the league table and produced a shocker by beating How Mine 2-1 at the weekend.
Tsholotsho will be hoping that their win over the gold miners is the break they have been waiting for in their seven-match winless run.
They need to be at their best if they are to knock out Caps United from the 16-team tournament.
Hwange gaffer Mebelo Njekwa said they need to make up for the disastrous season by winning the cup.
“We just should be positive and come up with something to make up for our poor run in the league. Ngezi are a good side, but I’m confident and already looking forward to the start of the tournament as we want to be in the final and win this Chibuku Super Cup,” said Njekwa.
“There’s unity and respect in our camp, which makes working towards our target easier. Of late, the guys have been working hard after the pep talk we had telling them that they should use this opportunity to market themselves. Going all the way to lifting the trophy is a good platform to market oneself,” he said.
Highlanders coach Erol Akbay is wary of their “soft” targets Mutare City Rovers, who are fighting relegation.
Bosso will be hoping to avoid an embarrassing exit from the tournament at the hands of Rovers, who beat them 1-2 in a league match last month.
“Cup games are not easy and Mutare City are difficult opponents. They beat us before and we have to be cautious. We have to prepare well for the cup,” said Akbay.
Dynamos’ coach Lloyd Mutasa whose side will face How Mine said: “I think this is a fair draw. We have to brace for the challenge that we will get from How Mine.”
Chapungu coach John Nyikadzino is expecting a tight first round encounter against FC Platinum.
“FC Platinum is one of the few organised teams in our league and being at the top of the table, they will want to make it difficult for us. However, we’ll try to make sure that we progress to the next stage,” Nyikadzino said.
Acting Bulawayo City coach Try Ncube, whose side will be away to ZPC Kariba said:
“All the teams that were seeded are tricky opposition and facing ZPC Kariba is the same as meeting FC Platinum, Caps United, Highlanders or even Dynamos. We want to do well in the tournament and at the moment our focus will be on clearing the ZPC Kariba hurdle.”
Harare City begin their Chibuku Super Cup defence against Border Strikers, while reigning league champions Chicken Inn will be away to Triangle United.
Lizwe Sweswe Mebelo Njekwa