ZIFA has confirmed the reintroduction of their cup competition, the Zifa Cup, starting this season after securing sponsorship. REPORT BY KEVIN MAPASURE
The association’s vice-president Ndumiso Gumede announced the new development in Chinhoyi at the weekend where he, together with board president Cuthbert Dube, had visited to mark a nationwide tour that will take them through all provinces for a fact-finding mission.
Gumede said that everything was in place for the tournament which will reclaim its place as the country’s biggest knockout tournament.
But as a start this year, the tournament will feature 32 teams with 16 from Division One joining the Castle Lager Premier League contingent.
The mother body will disburse $40 000 to each of the four regions which will be used for the qualifying rounds in Division One.
“This year we will reintroduce the Zifa Cup and we have already secured a sponsor, everything has been agreed and we will soon reveal the partners,” said Gumede.
“We want to reintroduce the old format of involving the whole football divide, but we will start small this time with 32 teams. Each of the regions will get four slots in the tournament proper. We want each region to run its own competition with the top four teams joining the Premiership sides.”
The Zifa Cup has been off the calendar for years with the association failing to secure sponsorship having been sponsored by the government and also CBZ before.
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There was only the Mbada Diamonds Cup which involved all Premier Soccer League teams last season in addition to the smaller pre-season competitions which involved four teams or less.
The development comes as good news to the Division One sides who have more to fight for besides promotion and they also get a chance to get a shot at the big boys.
Gumede also said that his association was looking at collapsing the four Division One leagues into one national league.
“We have some teams getting promotion into the Premier League and then immediately get relegated. The problem is that we have four Division Ones and they are weak. We need to have one national league so that it’s more competitive. But that all depends on getting money and it’s something we are looking at for the future.”
Speaking at the same function Dube said he would tour all the provinces to find ways they can aid football development.
Dube said his tour will be viewed by some as a campaign tour since elections are on early next year but he said that this was a necessary fact-finding mission.
“Our mandate is to develop football in this country and we have not been able to do that in the last few years owing to commitments in the Asiagate scandal,” said Dube. “Asiagate is over now and we are going to concentrate on development.”
The meetings will afford football stakeholders in provinces an opportunity to interact with the Zifa leadership.
While there is a general feeling of death of football in Mashonaland West which does to have a team either in the topflight or Division One, Dube said efforts were underway to help revive Eiffel Flats.