By Tadious Manyepo
Dynamos versus Highlanders, Caps United against Harare City — the Chibuku Super Cup first round really provided some tasty battles.
The $1.5 million-rich tournament roars to life on Saturday with a preliminary round double-header at Mandava.
The first round fixtures are scheduled for the weekend of 28-29 September.
Teams, which were in the top eight on the table after Match Day 17, were seeded.
Those in the bottom four, at the same stage, will have to battle in the preliminary round.
Winners between TelOne and Yadah as well as the victorious team between Mushowani and Bulawayo Chiefs will progress into the first round.
They will face Black Rhinos and Ngezi Platinum Stars respectively.
But it is the clash between eternal foes DeMbare and Bosso which was the highlight of the draw.
Dynamos secretary-general, Webster Marechera, said had they been given a choice, they wouldn’t have wanted to face Bosso in the first round.
“We were witnessing the draw and we were expecting any outcome,’’ said Marechera.
“The outcome is that we play Highlanders, now it is for the technical team to sharpen their weapons so that they come out with a positive result.
“Cup games are different from league games, any team can win.
“League performance doesn’t necessarily affect Cup games. Even if a team is performing poorly in the league, they can as well do better in Cup games.
“This is what has come out of the draw and we have to accept it. We need to prepare adequately so as to do well in the game.
“Our target is to win the trophy, just like any other team.”
Defending champions, Triangle, will take on Herentals at Gibbo.
Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva warned the country’s Caf Confederation Cup representatives to underrate them at their own peril.
Caps United are up against Chitembwe’s Harare City at the same stage.
Green Machine manager, Shakespeare Chinogwenya, saying his team wouldn’t have asked for a more fascinating Chibuku Super Cup first-round battle.
“It is quite a fair draw and Caps United facing Harare City is a charged tie,’’ he said.
“Obviously, Lloyd Chitembwe will be a huge factor.
“Both supporters and players from the Green Machine see him as a father figure. He is a Caps United hero, a legend and what a match it will be.’’
For the third year running, league champions FC Platinum will face Midlands rivals, Chapungu.
The Norman Mapeza-coached side have been eliminated in the first round by Chapungu in the past two years.
The quarter-finals of the tournament are slated for the weekend of 26-27 October with the semi-finals scheduled for the weekend of 9-10 November.
The final will be held on November 30.
Delta were represented by Maxen Karombo, the group operations director (lager and soft drinks), and Tichafa Rinhomota, the Chibuku general manager.
The company revealed they have been negotiating with the PSL to extend their sponsorship of the league and the Chibuku Super Cup.
Delta also sponsor the one-off match between the league and cup winners and the Soccer Stars of the Year.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Soccer Stars of the Year.
The company will also bankroll the PSL symposium in Victoria Falls next month.
PSL chief executive, Kenny Ndebele, revealed the sponsorship will take care of all the costs related to the clubs’ participation in this year’s Chibuku Super Cup. The Chronicle