THE $300 000 NetOne Charity Shield extravaganza, featuring four teams, roars into life this afternoon at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE/TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The action will be televised live on Supersport 9, starting at 1300hrs.
And Chicken Inn will be first on the field of play when they engage Monomotapa in the first semi-final while Caps United face FC Platinum in the second semi-final.
Chicken Inn head coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu says they are not going to take Monomotapa lightly.
Mpofu yesterday said he respects the former league champions Monomotapa, but he is looking forward to stepping into the final and winning Chicken Inn’s first silverware.
“It is going to be a tough match. Monomotapa are a big club, they are former champions and we will not take them lightly. We are going there to compete. That we have never won any silverware is a motivator on its own and this tournament is very important for us. Here we have an opportunity to play two games and have a cup. It’s do-or-die,” Mpofu said.
The Under-20 Young Warriors assistant gaffer said the new players that Chicken Inn have acquired for the 2013 season will not change his game plan, but will add value and experience to the squad.
“If you look at it, 75% of the team from last year is still intact and the players that we have brought are going to bring experience and add value to the squad. They are not going to change our strategy,” Mpofu said.
Chicken Inn signed former South African Premiership side AmaZulu striker Mkhokheli Dube and brought in former Highlanders and FC Platinum defender Zephania Ngodzo into the team, together with former Hwange right-back Thonisani Sibelo.
Monoz coach Biggie Zuze has predicted a close contest.
“It’s a massive game. Chicken Inn are a very strong side. They finished third on the league table and we had the same number of points. I predict a very close contest.
“We have not played against a Premiership side in our pre-season preparations and this is a good opportunity for us to gauge our strength. We have not signed any big names except Ismael Lawe whom we got from Gunners. He has settled well and has been combining well with Kuda Musharu in the games we have played so far,” said Zuze.
Monoz finished with 50 points on the league table last season- the same as Chicken Inn, but were beaten to third place owing to an inferior goal difference.
In the second semi-final, FC Platinum head coach Tennant Chilumba said there is no home game in a cup match.
Chilumba said he is working on his game approach as Caps United will be playing a tactical game and he is looking forward to grabbing yet another trophy inside 10 days after bagging the CG Msipa Charity Shield when they beat Shabanie Mine at Mandava Stadium last weekend.
“Caps are a tactical side with very young players who will run until the final whistle and we don’t want to be complacent. We will also attack to the final whistle. This is a cup game and it is neutral venue.
“Our plan is to play as if we are away from home and the boys know what is at stake. The boys are focused and responding well and the morale is high. The Kariba camp really worked wonders for us. We have a full squad; everyone is available and we are actually going to pick two teams for tomorrow (today) and Sunday (tomorrow),” Chilumba said.
Platinum have newboys, twins Kevin and Elvis Moyo, last year’s Golden Boot winner with Shabanie Mine, Nelson Mazivisa, former Hwange players, Zambian Aaron Katebe and goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
Brenna Msiska, thrust into the Caps hotseat after the departure of Mkhuphali Masuku, is fancying his chances after winning the ZNA Charity Shield last weekend.
“We are going out there looking for a victory against FC Platinum, but the chances are 50-50 because everything has changed at FC Platinum. They have a new coach and new players.
“We also have new players and this tournament will also help us to prepare for the coming season,” said Msiska, who will miss midfielder Tawanda Munyanduri who is still on the treatment table with a knee injury.
Caps will welcome back Tendai Samanja who did not play a part in their Charity Shield triumph.