Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE first round of the 2017 Chibuku Super Cup draw produced a battle between the holders and the league champions with Ngezi Platinum beginning the defence of their silverware with a tough battle against CAPS United next weekend.
The top eight teams in the championship race, at the halfway mark, were seeded at the draw and will also be at home in the first round matches.
Delta Corporation executives such as Chibuku general manager Tichafa Rinhomota, Chibuku brand manager Karen Dhliwayo, league officials and some club representatives attended the draw.
This year’s winner of the $75 000 knock-out tournament will meet the league winners in a one-off, Castle Challenge Cup, as part of the celebrations of the PSL’s Silver Jubilee.
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The Challenge Cup on December 5 will mark the end of the season and should the same team win both the Chibuku Super Cup and championship, the league’s runners-up will take the slot in the Challenge Cup.
Before the main draw was conducted, the PSL first did a preliminary round for the bottom four teams, at the halfway stage of the championship race, to choose the two teams that will join the other top 14 league teams.
And Hwange will play Yadah this weekend while Tsholotsho will meet Bantu Rovers in the play-offs. The venues for these matches will be decided by the Premier Soccer League.
The Green Machine’s commitments in the Champions League and a massive backlog saw them going into the hat as one of the unseeded teams and they will have to travel to Baobab for their game.
However, the club’s chief executive Cuthbert Chitima said they were ready to reclaim their title as Cup Kings. “It is a fair draw. Obviously, it is going to be a big match, it is not an easy match but as CAPS United, I think it is the time that we need to come back and let people know that we are the Cup Kings, they have forgotten about us.
“We need to fight and show people that we are in there and take our tag back. “We were not playing league matches and it caught up with us but we can’t complain. “I believe in the team that we have and I believe this is our time, I believe there is always a beginning, and this the beginning,” he said.
Dynamos will take on Bulawayo City. “We are happy that 2017 is our year and hopefully, the Chibuku Super Cup, and the league would be ours,” said club president Kenny Mubaiwa.
Highlanders chairman Modern Ngwenya also described their battle against Harare City as fair. “It is a fair draw. We are in the Premiership and we expect to play any team. We are really geared up for the match and it has come at a time when we have picked up form in our last two matches.
“We have the arsenal, we have the methods and strategy to do well in this Cup. “We respect Harare City because whenever we play them we play a beautiful game of football, they play a passing game and have won the Cup before.
“We will tell our guys not to underrate Harare City, although they are in mid-table,” he said. The Sunshine Boys office, Hope Chizuzu, said they were looking at having a good run in the tourney.
“We have always played well against Highlanders, we have beaten them several times and we have had very close calls. “I think Highlanders are a good team, and away from the drama in the last weeks, the good thing about them is that they have started playing well.
“But as Harare City we are in the same predicament, we are playing well but we are not winning games, even games we could have easily won, we are not winning them.
“This draw is a good draw for us. It gives us an opportunity to really start a good journey in the competition. We have always played very well in the Chibuku Super Cup,” he said.
How Mine will face the winner between Tsholotsho and Bantu Rovers. Club secretary Samuel Julius said all the league teams were the same and needed to be treated with respect.
“It was a good draw and we are waiting to see whom we are we going to play. We have been drawn against the winner between Tsholotsho and Bantu Rovers. All the teams are equal and there is no better team,’’ he said. Triangle chairman Lovemore Matsikinyidze said it was a fair draw.
Black Rhinos secretary Camble Sithole said they were just happy to be seeded. Yadah Stars chairman Everson Chatambudza said they want to negotiate past Hwange in the playoff to meet Chicken Inn in the first round.
Interestingly, the Premiership newboys shocked the Gamecocks 2-1 in Bulawayo at the weekend. “It is fair enough. We are playing Hwange and it is quite a fair match, I don’t think we are afraid of anything.
“Last weekend we beat Chicken Inn, it is a very important match that we need to win. There are a lot of expectations from our fans and at the end of the day we don’t have to disappoint them,” said Chatambudza.
FC Platinum and Chapungu will again meet in the Midlands derby in the first round.
Dynamos v Bulawayo City; Chicken Inn v Preliminary Match One winner (Hwange v Yadah); Black Rhinos v Triangle; Ngezi Platinum v CAPS United; How Mine v Preliminary Match Two winner (Tsholotsho/Bantu Rovers); Highlanders v Harare City; ZPC Kariba v Shabanie.