Masvingo off to Kariba for Mbada opener


Kariba football fans wake up to Premiership action on Sunday as Masvingo United travel all the way to the resort town to meet Harare’s Gunners in the first round of the $1 million Mbada Diamonds Cup 2011 at Nyamhunga Stadium.

The maiden tournament’s preliminary knockouts have been spread around the country in the 16-team Premiership competition.

Winners of the Kariba tie will in the next round meet the winners between Premiership championship contenders FC Platinum who battle it out with struggling police side Black Mambas at Gibbo Stadium in the sugarcane town of Triangle on Saturday.

Masvingo left their base yesterday morning for Harare where they were expecting to put up and leave for Kariba on Saturday.

They will undertake a long journey of about 700km and coach Saul Chaminuka said they left yesterday to make sure their players are fit for the Sunday match.

“We left this morning (Thursday) and we are going to Harare. We will train in Harare today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday), then leave for Kariba on Saturday . If you look at it, we are the team that is going to travel the longest journey, that is about 700km, and we want to avoid player fatigue. We have a few knocks here and there with one or two strikers, but it is not much and we hope everyone will be fit on Sunday,” Chaminuka said.

Resurgent Gunners have re-engaged Moses “Bambo” Chunga who threw in the towel at Caps United after losing to Highlanders at Baghdad Stadium in the quarter-final of the BancABC Sup8r Cup.

Bambo seems to have found new fortunes at the club which lost 3-2 to Masvingo United in May in the first half of the Premiership season under Darlington Dodo.

Gunners also fell 1-0 to Shabanie Mine at Ascot Stadium in July in the quarter-finals of the Sup8r Cup.
They are now perched in seventh position on the log table and they look favourite to proceed to the next round of the Mbada Cup as Masvingo are struggling at position 11 on the log standings.

Sunday’s match will be decided after 90 minutes and a penalty shootout will unveil the winners in the event of a stalemate after regulation time.

Winners of the Mbada Cup will get a chance to represent the nation in the 2012 Caf Confederations Cup and are due to be bankrolled by the diamond mining concern in the continental campaign.