Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor—
ZIFA and PHD Ministries leader Walter Magaya yesterday renewed vows in their growing relationship when they struck another mega deal in which the soccer-mad prophet will pour a huge amount of money towards the staging of the President’s Cup showdown between Zimbabwe and Zambia at the National Sports Stadium. The Warriors will square off against Chipolopolo in this special encounter that will celebrate the rise of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power.
Earlier on the same day, the Warriors Legends will clash against the Bafana Bafana Legends. The double dose of entertainment will also come a day after the nation would have commemorated National Unity Day.
Given the magnitude and the significance of the matches, ZIFA needed to stage a show for the archives and turned to their benefactor Magaya, with the prophet agreeing to come on board as he has often done when answering to calls of national duty.
An excited ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa and Prophet Magaya both confirmed the mega deal in which the PHD Ministries founder and leader will cater for all the four teams that will be in action when sport — through football — plays its part in celebrating President Mnangagwa’s ascendency to power. Chiyangwa said they had turned the high-profile friendly match into the President’s Cup after taking note of the significance of the event.
It is against this background that the ZIFA boss and his association approached the prophet for help with the organisation of the President’s Cup. Chiyangwa said ZIFA felt they needed to take the lead in supporting the new Government by staging a game involving teams drawn from Southern African powerhouses, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
And fans will not be short of entertainment given that the Warriors against Chipolopolo match will showcase the talents of the current generation while the legends encounter will no doubt show the sills of the yesteryear greats.
“As the flagship sport in the country as ZIFA we believe football should take the leading role in supporting the new dispensation and we are very grateful to the prophet for agreeing to come on board and partner us once again,’’ Chiyangwa said. The PHD Ministries leader will as part of the mega deal, cater for all the four teams that will take part in the President’s Cup festivities. Magaya, in confirming the deal, also expressed his excitement to be part of the process that will celebrate President Mnangagwa’s inauguration.
“I have been approached by ZIFA to help them with the accommodation, transport, food and other logistics and I agreed as a long-term partner of the association. I feel humbled that ZIFA have come to me to assist in celebrating the coming in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. “My partnership with ZIFA is standing and I will always be there for them,’’ Magaya said.
The prophet however, reckoned that the President’s Cup would be a special event for which he was determined to help make a huge success. “This one is special and I feel it should have actually been done a week ago during the inauguration but since ZIFA have approached me I want to assure the nation that we will certainly organise something bigger and better than the Barcelona Legends game because the coming in of the new dispensation has given Zimbabweans a lot of hope that their lives will be transformed too,’’ Magaya said.
The prophet was instrumental in the staging of the hugely successful encounter between the Warriors legends against the Barcelona legends in partnership with the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation.
Magaya even starred as a guest player at the invitation of ZIFA and having stolen the show despite making a cameo appearance late on in the second half, the prophet who also owns Premiership side Yadah Stars is likely to feature again when the Warriors legends take to the field against their Bafana Bafana counterparts in the curtain raiser show to the Zimbabwe against Zambia clash.
Crucially for ZIFA, yesterday’s announcement by Magaya that he had agreed to be a key partner of the President’s Cup match also puts paid to rumours that there had been a serious breakdown in relations between the association and their benefactors. ZIFA have had to rely heavily on the benevolence of such benefactors like Magaya to fund their national teams with the squads having to camp at the PHD Hotel in Waterfalls.
The hotel also played host to the Barcelona Legends who include Rivaldo, Patrick Kluivert, Lodovic Guili, Edgar Davids and Jose Edmilson who later gave rave reviews of their stay in the country. Meanwhile, Chiyangwa will in his capacity as COSAFA president this afternoon officially open the COSAFA Under-20 Tournament in Kitwe, Zambia. It is the fourth tournament to be staged by COSAFA this year, underpinning the fact that the region is not only the biggest bloc under the Confederation of Africa Football, but the most active.
The regional body also hosted the Under-17 tournament in Mauritius, the Women’s competition in Zimbabwe and will now bring the curtain down on a successful season with the tourney which begins in Zambia today and ends on December 16.
Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors who left for Zambia yesterday will begin their camping at the tournament with a date against Lesotho at Nkana Stadium tomorrow. After the Lesotho fixture, Zimbabwe will have a clash with Angola at the same venue three days later.