BITTER rivals Dynamos and Caps United are set to clash in the semi-finals of the Zimbabwe National Army’s (ZNA) Charity Shield next month, a match that will give an indication on how far the teams have gone in preparation for the upcoming season. BY HENRY MHARA
The other semi-final will see Highlanders taking on Chicken Inn in a Bulawayo derby.
The organisers said the two matches have been tentatively set for February 18, with the Harare derby scheduled for the capital, while the Bulawayo one will be played at Barbourfields.
Winners will meet seven days later.
Fabion Chitungo, from the ZNA Charities secretariat, yesterday said preperations for this year’s tournament had already started. “We are launching the tournament on February 9. We have already spoke to the teams and provisionally they have agreed. Just like last year, four teams will participate beginning at the semi-final stage. Dynamos will play Caps United and Highlanders will meet Chicken Inn with the winners facing off in the final,” he said.
“We are still working on the prize monies. If we can get a good sponsorship, we would want to improve from what we have been giving the teams.”
Last season, Caps United pocketed $12 000 for winning the title, while runners-up Highlanders got $8 000.
The tournament, the curtain raiser to the Premier Soccer League season, is often seen as a friendly match, an opportunity for coaches to test the condition of their players ahead of the gruelling season.
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However, there will be little love lost especially between the Harare giants, as they go head to head for the first time this year.
The two rivals were paired against each other at this stage of the season, Caps United getting the better of their old foes, on their way to winning the tournament after a penalty shootout against Highlanders in the final.
Both teams will be eager to make a statement for the new season as well as getting the early bragging rights, with the winner gaining a considerable amount of confidence going into the season proper.
There could be plenty of new faces on show when the two clash, with both teams very much involved in the transfer window.
Caps United appear the busier of the two, with at least nine players having already joined the club. Dynamos, on the other hand, have acquired the likes of Blessing Moyo, Jimmy Tigere and Raphael Manuvire while a striker from Cameroon is expected to join this week.
As for Highlanders, the match presents new coach Madinda Ndlovu an early opportunity to impress the club’s success-starved supporters.
For Chicken Inn, they will look to beat Highlanders and avenge the 4-0 drubbing they received at the hands of Bosso late in the season last year, a result that effectively ended their charge for the league title.