MANDAVA is undoubtedly becoming the stadium of choice for local football cup competitions after the Premier Soccer League (PSL) yesterday allocated two of the four Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final matches to the highly-rated venue.
According to the information released by the PSL, the matches will run from Saturday to Monday with the Zvishavane stadium hosting a double header on Saturday, starting with the match between Chiredzi FC and Harare City.
The match will kick-off at 1300hrs and will immediately be followed by a grudge contest between the home side FC Platinum and Caps United.
The action then moves to Bulawayo the following day when Highlanders and How Mine clash in a Bulawayo derby at Hartsfield Ground.
Black Rhinos and Triangle will take their rivalry to Gweru’s Ascot Stadium on Monday to conclude what promises to be an exciting three-day football fiesta.
The PSL says the allocation of venues was necessitated by many factors including a broadcasting schedule from SuperSport who will broadcast all the four matches.
The draw for the matches was conducted on Tuesday in the capital and although the PSL had promised to announce the venues yesterday, a number of newspapers fell prey to a hoax message that was circulated later in the day suggesting that the matches would be played in Chiredzi and Mandava.
They went on to publish the information without substantiating it with the PSL.
Mandava Stadium, arguably one of the best stadiums around, has in recent years hosted a number of high-profile cup matches including last week’s ZNA Cup final which saw FC Platinum obliterating Caps United 6-0.
The result was Caps United’s heaviest defeats in recent memory and will look at the Saturday match as an opportunity to redeem themselves from last week’s humiliation.
The defeat in Zvishavane came hard on the heels of a simmering crisis at the club after players had threatened to boycott a league match away to Bantu Rovers in Bulawayo last Thursday over unpaid salaries and bonuses.
It was the second industrial action by the players this season after another standoff at the club in June and there are already fears that this could have a negative impact on the club’s fortunes. Caps United coach Taurai Mangwiro, however, refused to read much into the off-field issues, insisting he was happy with the draw.
“It’s a welcome draw. After the humiliation we suffered to FC Platinum in the ZNA Charities Shield, the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final gives us a chance to redeem ourselves.
“It will obviously be a new game altogether and hopefully we will be able to put into practice some of the lessons we got from that embarrassing performance. We want to do well in this tournament and for that to happen, we need to play well against the tough teams. There are no easy matches at this stage of the competition,” said Mangwiro.
FC Platinum qualified for the quarter-finals after a 3-0 victory over Bantu Rovers in Norman Mapeza’s first game in charge while Caps United beat Chapungu 3-0 at Rufaro Stadium.
Bosso are also coming from a huge beating following their 4-1 drubbing by Dynamos in the inaugural TM Pick ‘n’ Pay Challenge Cup final at the National Sports Stadium at the weekend and will also look at their match against How Mine for salvation.