BELEAGURED Information minister Jonathan Moyo, suffered yet another embarrassment last weekend when two of the country’s biggest clubs, Highlanders and Caps United, un
der immense political pressure, snubbed his football tournament in Tsholotsho.
The two clubs were pencilled in to clash on Saturday in the $50 million challenge shield bankrolled by the embattled Moyo but the match failed to materialise. It has since emerged that the match was blocked “on political grounds” by Moyo’s opponents.
Moyo, who was recently booted out of the ruling party’s central committee and politburo, appears to be losing grip on the Tsholotsho constituency he has invested immensely in ahead of next year’s parliamentary election.
Sources said both Highlanders and Caps United allegedly received phone calls from senior Zanu PF politicians ordering them not to take part in the match.
“As a result of the pull-out, Moyo did not appear in Tsholotsho on the day of the proposed match and to those in Tsholotsho this is unusual,” said a Zanu PF official privy to the details.
Initially both Highlanders and Caps United had indicated that they would send second string sides to take part in the tournament but later it turned out to be a local affair as two obscure Tsholotsho teams, Black Swallows and Tsholotsho Pirates, battled it out for the shield. The winning team, Black Swallows, walked away with $2,5 million while their opponents got $1,5 million.
Initially winners in the Tsholotsho challenge were pencilled in to get $35 million while the losing team was set to walk away with $15 million prize money.
Caps United director Twine Phiri declined to give reasons why his team did not travel to Tsholostho despite earlier assurances Caps would play a second string team.
“My friend, Caps United cannot make a comment on that issue, it’s very sensitive, we will not comment, it’s a hot issue,” Phiri said.
It was not possible to obtain comment from Highlanders.
Moyo, who traditionally attends the Tsholotsho social activities, was conspicuous by his absence from the big match and former Zifa chairman Vincent Pamire and administrator Ndumiso Gumede presided over the ceremony.