Bantu Rovers to play in the US

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For the first time in the football tournament’s 30-year history, a Zimbabwean team, Bantu Rovers, will participate in the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup in Texas, USA, which is set to take stage from April 1-8.

Bantu Rovers, who play in the Zifa Southern Region Division One League, will be sending their Under-19 developmental side to the competition after they were invited by the tournament organisers.

Tshintsha Guluva’s secretary- general Wilbert Sibanda yesterday said all was set for the 16-member team to travel to the US after being cleared by the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) and Zifa.

“Our Under-19 side has been invited to the prestigious Dallas Cup tournament in the United States of America. This will be a tremendous opportunity for our players to showcase their talent alongside some of the best players of their age in the world and underlines Bantu Rovers’ commitment to developing young players. We were cleared by Zifa yesterday (Monday) to travel for the competition and have also been sanctioned by the SRC in a letter dated March 2,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said flights and accommodation for the travelling party had all been sorted out and former midfielder and Warriors player Johannes Ngodzo would take charge of the team travelling to the US.

The Dallas Cup has in the past attracted big teams like Barcelona, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Everton and Paris St Germain with some noted players who have graced the competition including Raul, David Beckham and Giovanni Dos Santos.

Manchester United will also feature in this year’s tournament.

Jomo Cosmos of South Africa are one of the African teams to have participated in the competition before.

“It is our desire to continue to forge relations with clubs inside and outside the country’s borders. We have been humbled by the co-operation of our colleagues in the soccer community here in Bulawayo and beyond. We will be taking several new signings with us to the tournament,” Sibanda said.

Bantu Rovers, owned by former Warriors midfielder and suspended Zifa board member Methembe Ndlovu, who was fingered in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal, bought Eastern Lions franchise in 2009 and were bundled out of the Premiership in 2010 after spending two seasons in top-flight football.

Ndlovu also champions the cause of development soccer as co-founder and head of Grassroot Soccer (Zimbabwe).

Sibanda yesterday said the club was not in a hurry to return to the Premier Soccer League as they were building a team that would be there to stay in the country’s elite football league in the event of a promotion. Some of the players that might be travelling to the US include twins Elvis and Kelvin Moyo, Benson Phiri, Nqobile Masuku, Dion Homela, Marvellous Nakamba, Mkhululi Ncube, Chrispen Ncube and goalkeeper Wallace Magalune.