A WEEK after the dismal performance by Zimbabwe’s senior national soccer team against Nigeria’s Super Eagles in a World Cup/African Cup of Nations qualifier, attention shifts to the domestic fron
t when the inaugural $250 million Buddie Challenge Cup gets underway.
The final of the tournament will be played at the National Sports Stadium on November 14.
Zimbabwe were clobbered 3-0 by Nigeria and, as administrators do some soul-searching, the knockout tournament will provide a shift of attention.
The Buddie Challenge Cup, launched in the capital on Tuesday, is the first knockout tourney this year that includes all premiership teams.
Caps United were the last team to win a knockout tournament with a 1-0 win over Highlanders in the BP Cup final in 2002.
The PG Trophy at the beginning of this season only involved the top four teams last season.
Winners of this weekend’s matches go into the quarterfinals to be played on a date yet to be advised.
Premiership top sides face easy fixtures and are favoured to storm into the last eight. Log leaders Caps United host Eiffel Flats at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, while Dynamos date Kwekwe Cables at Rufaro Stadium.
In Bulawayo, Highlanders lock horns with Wankie at Barbourfields while across town Amazulu host Masvingo at Luveve.
Shabanie Mine, still failing to come to terms with their shock home 1-2 loss to Kwekwe Cables in a premiership match a fortnight ago, entertain Sundowns at Maglas – previously a no-go area for visitors.
Lancashire Steel travel to Sakubva for a date against Motor Action on Sunday. Black Rhinos and Sporting Lions tussle for a place in the quarterfinals at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow, whilst Railstars host relegation-threatened Zimbabwe Saints at Barbourfields.
Although top teams avoid each other in the first round, bitter derbies are likely to liven up the quarterfinal stage. Log leaders, Caps United will lock horns with rivals Dynamos if both teams win this weekend, while the Bulawayo derby involving Highlanders and Amazulu could also be part of the quarterfinals.