HARARE giants Caps United have been handed what appears a tricky draw after they were paired against Zvishavane-based side FC Platinum in the semi-finals of the NetOne Charity Shield.
Report by Tawanda Tafirenyika
Bulawayo side Chicken Inn were drawn against Monomotapa in the other semi-final in a draw conducted in Harare yesterday.
The NetOne Charity Shield season opener explodes into life at Mandava Stadium on Saturday with the final scheduled for Sunday at the same venue.
The match between Chicken Inn and Monomotapa kicks off at 1300hrs, while the Caps United and FC Platinum tie starts at 1530hrs.
NetOne has increased this year’s sponsorship package to $300 000 with winners set to pocket $60 000 while the runners-up will get $40 000. The two losing semi-finalists will get $20 000 each with the rest of the amount covering other expenses.
FC Platinum coach Tennet Chilumba described the draw as fair.
“It’s a fair draw,” said Chilumba.
“Caps United are a well organised team and there is no small team anymore. We are looking forward to a good game. We have been playing well in our pre-
season preparations and everyone is focused. It will be good for our preparations for the coming season,” said Chilumba.
The former Hwange coach was appointed mentor of the Zvishavane-based side this year. He replaced former Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo and has watched his charges defeat Zambian clubs in their preparations for the new season. FC Platinum defeated Zanaco 3-1 in one of their friendly matches before mauling Power Dynamos 3-0 in another friendly match.
Judging by their pre-season preparations, FC Platinum — who also beat Dynamos to the signature of star defender Aaron Katebe and have recalled reigning PSL top goal-scorer Nelson Mazivisa from Shabanie Mine where he was on loan – appear the favourites to lift the NetOne Charity Shield trophy.
However, Caps United, who lifted the Zimbabwe National Army Charity Shield after beating army side Black Rhinos on Sunday — their first trophy since beating arc rivals Dynamos to the Nestlé Charity Shield in 2009 — will be seeking to add the NetOne Charity Shield trophy.
“I think it’s a tricky draw because FC Platinum have a new coach. They have new players and it’s not the same team that we knew last season, but we are looking forward to winning the NetOne Charity Shield,” said interim coach Brenna Msiska.
United have recruited some exciting youngsters whom they have blended with experienced players after parting ways with six key players that included veteran striker Shingi Kawondera.
They have also promoted winger Takudzwa Mahori from their juniors. The 18-year-old Mahori, who made his debut for the Green Machine on Sunday exhibited intelligence. He could be one of the stars of this tournament.
The country’s most supported football teams, Dynamos and Highlanders, will be the notable absentees from the tournament after they failed to make the cut following a new format of voting by supporters introduced by the sponsors this year.
Dynamos and Highlanders failed to garner enough votes to qualify. NetOne managing director Reward Kangai maintained that the process was transparent.