Unity Cup gets underway

Sukoluhle Mthethwa



FOUR regional select teams will battle for supremacy in the rebranded $45 million Unity Cup tournament with nothing to really choose among the four si

des.


The tourney, under a new regional format for the first time, is however an opportunity for soccer planners to fathom the strength and spread of talent throughout the country.


The first match of the tournament will feature the Eastern and Southern regions tomorrow at Babourfields.


On Sunday the Northern region will clash with the Central region at Rufaro.


The bulk of the players from the Southern region have been picked from Hwange and Highlanders. Other players who have been included in the team were picked from premiership sides Zimbabwe Saints, and Railstars. Division one sides Underhill, Bulawayo Arsenal and newly promoted premiership side Sundowns have also contributed players.


Highlanders head coach Methembe Ndlovu — in charge of the team — said that they were hoping to do well tomorrow as the Southern region despite the short time availed to prepare for the tourney.


“It is not going to be easy,” said Ndlovu. “But all the regions had the same amount of time to train with the players so it will just be fair.”


Ndlovu who has just won the championship with Highlanders will be assisted by Hwange head coach Paul Moyo.


“We have chosen the best players from our region. We hope they will do well,” he said.


The Southern region will get a tough contest as the Eastern region will feature top players like Edmore Mufema, Clement Matawu, and Godfrey Dondo.


Matawu will battle it out with Highlanders midfielder Honour Gombami and Johannes Ngodzo in midfield.


On Sunday at Rufaro Stadium Mwana Africa head coach Willard Khumalo will lead the Central region against the Northern region.


Khumalo will be assisted by former Highlanders striker and division one outfit Ziscosteel coach Tobias Mudyambanje who said his team wants to win the tournament as it is being played in a novel format.


“Playing as a region will be a first, therefore we want to win this tournament,” Mudyambanje said.


Chipo Tsodzo, Maxwell Dube, Washington Arubi and Thomas Svesve are some of good players who have been selected from this region.. The Northern region boasts Dynamos marksman Sebastian Mutizirwa and Caps United trio of Warriors defender Method Mwanjali, Marvel Samaneka and Washington Pakamisa.


Also expected to give the Central region a tough contest will be defenders Geoffrey Ndlovu, Lloyd Nyamadzawo, Reuben Mhlanga and Norman Togara.


The Unity Cup will be the second biggest knockout tournament after the $200 million CBZ Cup. The winners of the tournament will pocket $6 million. The runners-up will walk away with $4 million while $3 million will go to the third-placed team and the fourth will pocket $2 million.


Caps Holdings have also poured in sponsorship first aid kits. Masvingo United won last year’s edition of the cup after they beat Highlanders 3-1 on penalties.

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