Old rivals Dynamos and Highlanders will clash in the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Shield which will be played over two legs in Harare and Bulawayo, with the first at Rufaro on Sunday, while the second is scheduled for Barbourfields on Unity Day.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
But with the Chan squad having begun its preparations for the finals that will be played in Rwanda next month, 10 players from the two sides will miss the matches.
Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze confirmed that the association had sanctioned the tournament, but said that all players who had been called up to the national team would not be allowed to partake in the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Shield.
Dynamos will be the hardest hit by that decision since they have six players in the squad, who include goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, Blessing Moyo, Ocean Mushure, Elisha Muroiwa, Ronald Chitiyo and Roderick Mutuma.
Highlanders have Bruce Kangwa, Teenage Hadebe, Nqobizitha Masuku and Knox Mutizwa, who captained the Bulawayo giants in the Easycall Cup final against Chicken Inn at the weekend.
DeMbare are aiming for revenge after they were dumped out of the Easycall Cup by Highlanders, who won the semi-final clash 2-1 at Barbourfields.
“It presents an opportunity for us to revenge. But matches against Highlanders are always difficult. It’s like playing against Caps United. They (Highlanders) have been playing well recently. They have not lost in their last nine games. It will be very interesting to meet them again,” Dynamos team manager Richard Chihoro said.
Yesterday, Mashingaidze said Zifa was still engaging the clubs and the Premier Soccer League, but the teams had since been informed and were now preparing for the tournament.
He said that he had briefed Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa, who gave his blessings for the tournament, which is organised by the Joshua Nkomo National Foundation, to go ahead.
“We are fully behind it since it is a tournament to honour the legacy of the founding father of the nation. I briefed the president (Chiyangwa) after talking to Jabulani Hadebe (Joshua Nkomo National Foundation chief executive officer) and he has given the green light,” Mashingaidze said.
Confirming the charity tournament in a statement yesterday, Hadebe said the prize money for the tournament would be announced in due course.
“The Joshua Nkomo Foundation has organised the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Shield pitting Highlanders against Dynamos on Sunday December 20, at Rufaro in Harare and the second leg on Tuesday December 22, at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo. The Joshua Nkomo Legacy Shield is a symbolic event to commemorate and celebrate the life of the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo for his outstanding efforts in fighting for the liberation of Zimbabwe, political freedom, social and economic prosperity.”
Highlanders beat Dynamos 2-1 on December 6 at BF to reach the final of the Easycall Cup, having lost the league match played at Rufaro 3-2, with the second ending in a 1-1 draw.