THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Charity Shield semi-final match pitting rivals Caps United and Dynamos that had been initially scheduled for Rufaro Stadium on Sunday has been moved to the National Sports Stadium on the same day after concerns were raised over the condition of the pitch.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The football tournament, which will also involve Highlanders and Chicken Inn, who play at Barbourfields Stadium in the other semi-final, is the curtain raiser to the Premier Soccer League season, which is set to kick-off next month.
Coaches of the four teams will use the opportunity to test the condition of their players ahead of the season, which kicks off on March 10.
Organisers of the tournament have been forced to shift the venue for the big Harare derby after Dynamos secretary-general Webster Marechera on Tuesday during the tournament launch raised concerns over the pitch condition of Rufaro Stadium.
Dynamos used the stadium for their two friendlies last weekend, and were not happy with the muddy and slippery surface, caused by the poor drainage system.
The organisers took time to assess the pitch for themselves on Wednesday and concluded that the surface was not safe for players.
“We are just coming out of the meeting and the position is that after careful consideration, we thought it is prudent for the match to be played at the National Sports Stadium because we never know what will happen with the weather. We did assess Rufaro Stadium yesterday (Wednesday) and we resolved that the match be moved to the National Sports Stadium on Sunday,” said ZNA public relations director Alphios Makotore.
Caps United are the defending champions after beating Highlanders after a penalty shoot-out in last year’s finals to lift the trophy and pocketed $12 000 as prize money, while the Bulawayo giants got $8 000.
United had beaten Dynamos in the same stage, while Highlanders had overcame FC Platinum, who were not considered this year.
It remains to be seen how it plays out this term as 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 also be plenty of new faces on show on Sunday with both teams having been heavily involved in the transfer window.