Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
IF they are to be relegated, the bottom four teams would want to go down with a bang, leave a lasting impression in the topflight, thus causing major upsets by winning the Chibuku Super Cup tournament.
The bottom four teams, Yadah, Bulawayo Chiefs, TelOne and Mushowani Stars kick start the $1.5 million Delta Beverages-sponsored knockout tournament in a double header set for this afternoon at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.
Chiefs and Mushowani will be the first to battle it out in a 1PM match kickoff, with Yadah and TelOne squaring off later.
The winner between Chiefs and Mushowani will face Ngezi Platinum Stars in the first round of the competition to be played on the weekend of September 28-29.
TelOne, under the tutelage of former national team coach, Rahman Gumbo, will be hoping to see off Yadah and set a first round date against Black Rhinos.
Both matches are likely to be interesting, with Mushowani and Yadah out for revenge having been beaten by their opponents in their last league meetings.
Chiefs edged Mushowani 2-1 in a league match, while Yadah were clobbered 4-1 by TelOne a fortnight ago.
Chiefs and TelOne will have to guard against complacency, lest they are knocked out of the competition.
Chiefs will be without the quartet of utility player Shadreck Nyahwa who is with the national Under-23 team in South Africa, defender Arthur Ndlovu (injured) and the striking pair of skipper Kundishora Chakanyuka and Farau Matare who are also nursing injuries.
Goalkeeper David Bizabani, the defence trio of Sikhumbulani Dube, Malvin Mkolo and Brandon Mpofu, midfielders Lucky Ndlela, Arthur Musiiwa and Shepard Mhlanga, as well as forward Hugh Chikosa are some of the players expected to carry the day for Chiefs.
Mushowani, who gave Highlanders a scare in the 0-0 draw at Barbourfields Stadium last weekend, will be out to take their unbeaten run to four games.
The Bindura outfit will bank on goalkeeper Admire Masuku, defensive pair of Carlos Musimwa and Chelsea Nyakope, midfielders Clive Dzingayi, captain Crybet Mavuti and Sylon Chikwerengwe. They also have Amon Kambanje and Charles Rukwani who are capable of breaching Chiefs’ defence.
Veteran striker, Jacob Muzokomba, former Highlanders midfielder King Nadolo, ex-DeMbare winger Emmanuel Mandiranga, young goalkeeper Raphael Pitisi and defender Trust Nyabinde are some of TelOne’s players who have been in top form for the Gweru club.
Seasoned striker, Ralph Matema, is expected to give TelOne defenders a good run in the absence of slippery winger Leeroy Mavhunga who is on national duty with the Young Warriors.
Chibuku Super Cup Preliminary fixtures
Today: Mushowani Stars v Bulawayo Chiefs (Mandava, 1PM), TelOne FC v Yadah (Mandava, 3PM)
Chibuku Super Cup First Round Draw: FC Platinum v Chapungu, Chicken Inn v Manica Diamonds, Black Rhinos v Telone/ Yadah, Caps United v Harare City, Ngezi Platinum v Mushowani/ Bulawayo Chiefs, ZPC Kariba v Hwange, Triangle United v Herentals, Dynamos v Highlanders
Dates: September 28-29 – @ZililoR