NRSL pleased with inaugural Axis Solutions Cup contest

Eagles, who are coached by former Warriors striker Gilbert Mushangazhike, knocked out Ngezi Platinum Under-19 in the last 8 before beating Trojan Star 1 – 0 last Sunday to book a place in the final.


THE Northern Region Soccer League has expressed delight at how the inaugural Axis Solutions Super 8 Cup has progressed after reaching the final stage of the competition during the region’s midseason break.

Two of the top teams in the well-run division one league Simba Bhora and Golden Eagles are set to clash in the final of the competition, which is likely to be staged at the end of the season.

And judging by the thrills and spills in the knockout competition, it promises to be an epic battle between the two teams who are also vying for promotion.

Eagles, who are coached by former Warriors striker Gilbert Mushangazhike, knocked out Ngezi Platinum Under-19 in the last 8 before beating Trojan Star 1 – 0 last Sunday to book a place in the final.

On the other hand, Shamva-based Simba Bhora dispatched Chegutu Pirates in the first round and needed a penalty shootout to knock out a well-drilled Herentals Under-20 team.

“In terms of games, they have been very competitive and we had very good crowds in matches played outside Harare especially the match against Simba Bhora and Chegutu Pirates. We noticed that people are coming to the stadium because of the brand of football that is being played in our league. We had two matches that had to be decided in penalty shootouts,” NRSL vice-chairman Sweeney Mushonga said.

“In terms of lessons learnt, we realised as a region that we cannot take our fans for granted anymore and at Simba Bhora there was a road show to try and bring the fans to the stadium. There should be an initiative in the league to bring back the crowds and to achieve that we need to have a proper strategy and strategists.

“We also learnt that if we motivate these players, we will be able to get the best out of them.

“In this competition we were giving US$100 to the man of the match until this stage and it could be the reason why there has been a high level of competition,” Mushonga said. Those who walked away with the man of the match accolades in the competition so far include former Dynamos midfielder Barnabas Mushunje, who plays for Simba Bhora, Dhunga Muchapuya (Trojan Stars), Tatenda Hapazari and Henry Manatsa, among others.

“Clubs have been supportive of this event and above all the sponsors managed to attend all the games and were excited with what they saw except maybe in one match when there was a scuffle involving opposing players. But apart from that, the tournament went on smoothly and there is no record of crow trouble,” he said.

Mushonga also spoke about the future plans for the league and the competition going forward.

“This is the first time we have had this competition and we started with just eight teams. it is our desire to make it a Northern Region tournament that will also involve teams from this region, which are in Division Two,” he said.

“We realised that there are not enough games in the region for all the talent that we have in the region. We also have to work towards revamping our junior football in the region. The success of the Northern Region will be underlined when we have vibrant junior leagues for different age groups and we are looking for a suitable partner for such undertakings.”

Axis Solutions Africa unveiled a US$ 20 000 sponsorship package for the Axis Super 8 Cup in October last year.

Their sponsorship package includes incentives for the player of the tournament, the Golden Boot winner, the Golden Glove winner and the Coach of Tournament set to get US$400.

The pan African ICT company also promised to pour more funds into grassroots football.

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