A SOCCER gala is in the offing at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane when the NetOne Charity Shield Cup is played this weekend.
The festival will start with semi-final ties initially pitting Chicken Inn against Monomotapa on Saturday with FC Platinum and Caps United clashing in another match at the same venue later in the day.
Chicken Inn and Monomotapa will play the first game in a tie expected to be a thriller as both coaches are targeting their first piece of silverware with the clubs.
Chicken Inn secretary-general Tavengwa Hara declared that they wanted to lift the trophy and dedicate it to their late coach Adam Ndlovu who died in a traffic accident last December.
On paper, Chicken Inn appears the stronger of the two sides, having retained most of the players from last season while Monomotapa coach Biggie Zuze lost 12 players from last season’s squad.
Chicken Inn — now under the guidance of Mandla Mpofu — boast experience in the mould of former South Africa–based striker Mkhokheli Dube, last year’s Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year finalists Kudakwashe Mahachi and captain Felix Chindungwe.
Mpofu has at his disposal Zephaniah Ngodzo, Danny “Deco” Phiri, Thabani Goredema and Tendai Ndoro.
Makhosi Ncube, Leneance Mpofu and Tendai Mukambi are doing light training while Guide Goddard is out of the match through injury.
Mpofu yesterday said they were ready for Monomotapa.
“Our main aim this season is to maintain a top-four position in the league and to at least get one cup. We are happy that the opportunity has come early, so we are working hard to ensure that we win the Charity Shield.
“We lost a few players, but we have added experience through players like Dube and Ngodzo. We are hoping they will add value to our team. We want to play good football,” he added.
Monomotapa will start life without players like Artwell Mukandi, Russell Madamombe, Tendai Ngulube, Makai Kawashu, Brian Mapfumo, Joram Muchambo, Wonder Kapinda and Fidelis Mangezi who left to join other clubs.
Zuze yesterday said they were geared up for the match despite the setback.
Ishmael Lawe, Talent Munetsi and Clive Boroma have Premiership experience.
“It is the first competitive game for us this season because we have been playing lower division clubs. We are looking forward to the game against Chicken Inn because they are a good side,” he said.
“We lost several players, but we have roped in others who have the potential. We believe they will adjust to our type of play. We want players who will go there and compete against Chicken Inn, not just fulfilling the fixture.”