THE Barbourfields football double-header on Sunday between Highlanders and Triangle and How Mine and Black Rhinos will headline the first round of the million-dollar Mbada Diamonds Cup first round matches that kick off on Saturday.
BY WELLINGTON TONI
Three matches will be played on Saturday with NetOne Charity Shield winners Chicken Inn resuming their rivalry against newly-crowned BancABC Sup8r Cup winners Shabanie Mine at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.
Caps United will engage Motor Action at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare, while Buffaloes and Black Mambas will clash at Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma.
On Sunday, defending champions Dynamos travel to Gibbo Stadium in Chiredzi for a date with Tripple B, Harare City take on Monomotapa at Rufaro Stadium, while the battle of the miners pitting FC Platinum and Hwange will take place at the Colliery Stadium.
Dynamos defeated Monomotapa 2-0 in last year’s final and are looking for a historic third win on the trot after being drawn against the lowly Beitbridge side.
But is the double-header at Barbourfields Stadium that will set the tournament alight on Sunday as How Mine — the giant killers who have beaten both Dynamos and Highlanders this season — take part in their first cup competition since promotion.
Highlanders, on the other hand, have struggled in cup competitions of late and last reached a final in 2011 when they lost 1-0 to Motor Action in the BancABC Sup8r.
Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said kick-off times would be confirmed later on as SuperSport would cover all the opening matches over the weekend.
From the first round to the final, each of the 18 players selected by the club to take part in the match will receive $100 appearance fee while the seven members of the technical team will get $150.
The man of the match will receive $500 while the same prize will be awarded for the fastest goal of the tournament.
The sponsors, Mbada, will cater for the teams’ travel, food and accommodation expenses hence the appeal to decrease gate charges to $1 to increase attendances.
While Zifa will be the first to cry foul, its vice-president Ndumiso Gumede said on Saturday night in Zvishavane that while the idea was welcome, high attendances could also lead to stampedes.
The league and Zifa will decide on the gate charges this week.
Saturday: Chicken Inn vs Shabanie Mine (Mandava), Buffaloes vs Black Mambas (Rimuka), Motor Action vs Caps United (Sakubva Stadium)
Sunday: How Mine vs Black Rhinos 1300hrs, Highlanders vs Triangles (Barbourfields 1500hrs), Hwange vs FC Platinum (Colliery), Dynamos vs Tripple B (Gibbo), Harare City vs Monomotapa (Rufaro)