TRIANGLE FC are the 2014 winners of the NetOne One Wallet Cup after beating their much-fancied opponents Dynamos 4-3 after a penalty shootout in the final at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
And with that we say hearty congratulations to the Sugar Sugar Boys for winning the $80 000 top prize.
It has been a long journey to success — one that started in 2012 when they won the Eastern Region Division One League title, becoming the first team in 42 years from the Lowveld to gain promotion into the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Their inaugural season in the top flight saw them finish in the top eight, which made them qualify for this year’s One Wallet Cup.
While they took the difficult decision to part ways with Gishon Ntini — who had brought Premiership football to the Lowveld for the first time in more than four decades — and appoint Biggie Zuze, the move has brought their first piece of silverware.
They are also in the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup and that could crown a stellar season in their short history in the top flight were they to win that one as well.
They have a bigger job going forward — to survive relegation. But one hopes the confidence they gained from Sunday’s win will push them further in the last six games of the season.
The fans stayed away on Sunday, probably because the cheapest ticket was going for $3. Fans were of the opinion that because of the low profile of Triangle, gate charges should have been reduced to a $1 for the rest of the ground, considering the transport costs of getting to the National Sports Stadium.
Perhaps Rufaro could have been a better venue, but that pitch is now dangerous for the players — the last victim being Dynamos goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi who had to sit out Sunday’s final. The pitch just needs to be ripped off!
Then there is the issue of television. This is something that the sponsors need to look at in the future to attract a bigger crowd. Television plays a huge factor these days when matches are screened live and sponsors must employ aggressive means of marketing their products.
NetOne should be applauded for the confidence they have shown in the PSL brand, moving away from last season’s hugely successful four-team charity tournament, which saw a two-day football extravaganza at Mandava in Zvishavane.
That they moved to an eight-team tournament this year and for the next two years means they have seen the rewards of partnering the PSL and ploughing back into the community that they operate in.
What is now left is aggressive marketing when it comes to the final match, engagement with the media and Press conferences in the days leading to the final. The media wants to talk to the players and coaches unhindered and this is where the sponsor can maximise by organising Press conferences.
All the same, this is a good step for NetOne and we hope 2015 will be much better and more competitive.