The 2011 edition of the BancABC Sup8r Cup was launched at a colourful ceremony in the capital last Friday in what could be seen as the company’s continued dedication to the improvement of local football.
BancABC, who have been sponsoring the competition for the past four years, poured in $500 000 in total prize money.
Winners of this year’s competition are assured of $50 000 prize money with the runners-up assured of getting $20 000 while the losing semi-finalists will get $10 000 each.
The sponsorship deal also includes kit, accommodation and individual player awards for man-of-the-match, player of the tournament, top goalscorer and most disciplined team.
There will also be prizes for the fans, including bicycles, televisions and an 18-seater Toyota Hiace minibus.
The quarter-final draw for the eight-team competition was also held at the launch and there is no doubt the stand-out fixture is the battle of the cities pitting Harare giants Caps United and Bulawayo giants Highlanders.
Defending champions Dynamos, who beat local rivals Caps United 3-2 to win last year’s title, were handed a tricky fixture against their bogey side Hwange.
The two teams have already met this season in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League
(PSL) match which ended in a goalless draw at Rufaro.
In the other quarter-finals match-ups, reigning PSL champions Motor Action were drawn against Monomotapa while Gunners will lock horns with Shabanie Mine.
The organisers could not immediately announce the venues where the matches will take place, but indicated that they would take the games to remote towns where PSL matches have not been played in recent years.
Towns like Chiredzi, Mutare and the midlands town of Kwekwe have been mooted.
The first two quarter-finals matches will be played this weekend while the other matches will be staged on the weekend of July 9 and 10.
The launch of the BancABC Sup8r Cup comes barely a week after the same company showed commitment to sponsoring two of the biggest clubs in the country, Dynamos and Highlanders.
The company has promised $100 000 to each team which will be channelled towards players’ welfare.
NewsDay Sport spoke to some of the representatives from the clubs that were in the hat for this year’s Sup8r Cup quarter-final draw.
Below are the excerpts from club officials about this year’s edition of the competition.
Gunners’ brand and communications manager Obert Chunga said: “It’s a welcome development in our local football, we applaud them for showing confidence in the game despite all the negative reports they received last year.
“After all the bad publicity they received, with teams going to the courts, BancABC had the temerity to come back again. They have given us another chance and this time around, we should honour them – it clearly shows that they have soccer at heart.
“The clubs should just read and fully understand the rules of the competition before they take part. If there are provisions they do not understand well, they should go back and consult because we can’t afford to drag the name of the sponsor into the mud once again.
This is our chance to clear our league and also the name of the sponsor after last year’s mishaps,” said Chunga.
Caps United chief executive officer Maxwell Mironga echoed Chunga’s sentiments saying professionalism should be upheld.
“It’s good that the corporate world still has confidence in us despite all the problems we had last year. It’s time that the corporate world should realise that there is mileage in football, because after all the bad publicity the company got last year, they have come back again and sponsored us.
“It shows that there is a lot for companies to benefit from this partnership, but my plea to the other teams that are participating is not to abuse the trust that has been accorded to us by BancABC, let’s play by the rules,” said Mironga.
Dynamos’ secretary-general Simon Sachiti said, “We are very happy with what BancABC has done. We will try our best to comply with the rules of the competition. We are looking forward to a good tournament, clean of controversy, and hopefully we will retain the trophy this year,” said Sachiti.
Motor Action chief of protocol Simeone Jamanda, although welcoming the sponsorship package, also had his own reservations as he had more questions than answers.
“It’s a good sponsorship deal, but with the venues yet to be proposed that might also be a threat to the competition itself,” the outspoken Jamanda said.
“Can you imagine if a problem happens in a small centre like Triangle? What can happen there is a probably of a disaster. Are there any provisions of security for players and match officials in these stadiums?
“In as much as we want to take the game to these remote areas, we should be realistic and frank to ourselves. To start with, are these stadiums being proposed even fit to host a premiership match?
Were the PSL ground and competitions committees consulted before these venues’ proposals and why are the venues being kept in secrecy when all the details of the sponsorship were revealed?
“When a launch is held and the information is withheld, things are left hanging and there is suspicion and room for unfair play here,” added Jamanda.