Highlanders avoid FC Platinum Chibuku Cup quarter-final ties
THERE was huge relief when Highlanders FC were kept apart from FC Platinum and instead paired with Bulawayo neighbours How Mine in the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup at yesterday’s draw held in Gweru.
League leaders FC Platinum will face Triangle United at Gibbo Stadium in the Lowveld while defending champions Harare City take on ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga Stadium. Ngezi Platinum Stars host strugglers Tsholotsho and all matches will be played this weekend.
“There was that excitement that we will be drawn against FC Platinum, but look any opponent at this stage is worthy. However, we would have been happier to meet FC Platinum because they play an exciting brand of football just like us,” said Highlanders secretary-general Emmett Ndlovu.
He said they would do everything possible to win the cup, although they respect How Mine who were not represented at yesterday’s draw.
The Bulawayo derby will be a repeat of last year’s encounter in which How Mine bundled out Bosso in the first round after a penalty shootout.
Bosso will be seeking revenge for that first-round knockout which they lost 3-4 on penalties after the two sides were deadlocked 1-1 after regulation time.
How Mine’s Devon Chafa, Timothy Sithole, Heritein Masuku and veteran Mernard Mupera converted their spot kicks, while Wonder Sithole missed.
Highlanders’ spot kicks were scored by Obidiah Tarumbwa, Nqobizitha Masuku and King Nadolo. Tendai Ngulube and Thembinkosi Simango failed to convert their efforts.
To reach the quarter-finals, Highlanders edged a battling Mutare City Rovers 2-1, while How Mine performed a giant killing act to eject Dynamos 5-4 on penalties following a gruelling goalless stalemate in normal time.
FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo felt the draw was fair. “To us, everyone and anyone would have been a fair opponent. We hope to go all the way to the final because if we are to get a double, it will be a bonus,” he said.
Harare City vice chairman Chris Mbanga said: “We are ready for our opponents. ZPC Kariba have not posed a threat to us and we are comfortable playing them. We want to defend our gold and get another dance in Africa.”
Tsholotsho chairman Mlamuli Phiri said they want to atone for their poor league showing by lifting the Chibuku Super Cup.
“They (Ngezi) beat us at home in the league and perhaps it’s now time for revenge. We hope to progress to the next stage and even go on to win the cup and represent Zimbabwe in the Caf Confederation Cup next year,” said Phiri.
Chibuku Super Cup brand manager Karen Dhliwayo wished all the eight teams luck in their games. “Some were slain in the firstround, but I want to wish you all the best,” said Dhliwayo.
Karen Dhliwayo, Chibuku brand manager, and Elisha Mandireva, the PSL competitions manager conduct the draw in Gweru yesterday