THE $500 000 One Wallet Cup explodes into life this afternoon with two matches at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.
The competition, launched on Wednesday, is sponsored by NetOne and comes with a handsome package of $270 000 in prize money.
Winners take home $80 000 for just 270 minutes of play, while the two teams that lose today with get $20 000 each. The losing semi-
finalists will get $30 000 while the losing finalists will be $50 000 richer.
Harare City v Triangle (Today, Mandava, 1pm):
Harare City coach Bigboy Mawiwi says they are up for the challenge.
“We are ready for the Cup game. We know that Triangle are a good side and they have a very good coach, Biggie Zuze. But we want to win the match. It is a different game because the position on the log table does not come into perspective,” he said.
Zuze says they are anticipating an exciting tie.
“This is a cup game so we will fight very hard. We know our opponents didn’t start off well in the league like us, but anything can happen in a cup game. We want to progress and go as far as we can. We expect a very good match,” he said.
Triangle player Charles Rukwanhi, who picked up an injury against Bantu Rovers last week is out injured. Chasten Ngondonga and Courage Denias are doing light training while Harare City’s Talent Chawapihwa and Nomore John are nursing injuries.
FC Platinum vs Chicken Inn (Today, Mandava, 3pm):
Chicken Inn will be without influential anchorman Brian Juru who is away in South Africa for trials with Absa Premier Soccer League side Platinum Stars when they take on FC Platinum.
FC Platinum are searching for their third piece of silverware this season after they lifted the CG Msipa Charity Shield and Independence Trophy while Chicken Inn are eyeing their second one since they gained promotion into the top-flight league after they won the NetOne Charity Shield last year.
Juru’s absence was felt when the Bulawayo side lost 1-2 to Caps United in a league match at Luveve Stadium a fortnight ago when he was facing a one match suspension.
FC Platinum will go into this match missing their four key players who include Daniel Vheremu, Donald Ngoma, Nelson Mazivisa and former Under-23 captain Qadr Amini.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas said they were ready for the match although they would miss two of their key players.
“This is a cup game and there has to be a winner. We will treat it as a cup game and we will do what should be done when playing a cup game — that is to go out and attack and hopefully emerge victorious. Brian Juru is away because he is attending trials with Platinum Stars (South Africa). He will be missed, but we just have to move on. We will also be without Danny Phiri who is injured,” he said.
The GameCocks have been unpredictable this season in the league. It would be interesting to see how they will fare against the Zvishavane side.
“We have been very inconsistent in the league, but this is a different competition altogether. Anything can happen,” he said.
FC Platinum coach Lloyd Mutasa conceded he faced a tough task.
“Like any other team our target is to win because it is a cup game. The ball is round; it can go anywhere. We need to score more goals than our opponents because there is no draw. This is a different ball game so the better team of the day will win,” he said.
On missing key players, Mutasa said: “They are very important members in our team, but we have quite a number of players who can fill the void. When we registered our players we knew that at one time we would be handicapped in that manner.”
Highlanders v How Mine (Tomorrow, Ascot Stadium, 1pm):
Highlanders and How Mine take their rivalry to the Midlands capital of Gweru tomorrow afternoon.
This is the second cup meeting of the two teams after Highlanders romped to an emphatic 3-0 victory in the Mbada Diamonds Cup final last year.
This season, Bosso have beaten How Mine 2-1 in the league while last year, the Bulawayo giants lost both league games to the gold miners.
But as they meet at a neutral venue tomorrow, How Mine coach Philani Ncube believes they have to emerge winners.
However, they will be without veteran midfielder Menard Mupera who was injured in their loss to Bosso.
“We are playing at a neutral venue, but it is still a derby. So far they have beaten us in the Mbada (Diamonds Cup) final and the league match and they are better off than us. We will be happy if by the end of the day we emerge winners,” Ncube said.
He confirmed that Mupera would not be with the team as he has a plaster following the injury while Fungai Chirinda who was injured during training, is also out.
“Warren (Dube) started training with us, but I doubt he will be part of the team that will play on Saturday (tomorrow). We would have to work around and see who can take his (Mupera) place,” said the coach who was part of the gaffers that attended the Caf A Licence course in Harare.
Ncube could make use of Xolisani Moyo, Emmanuel Mandiranga, Edmore Muzanenhamo, Timothy January, Godfrey Nguwodzawo, Gilbert Banda, George Magariro, Nyasha Mukumbi and Kuda Musharu.
Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu said most of his players’ health had improved as they had not been well when they played against Bantu Rovers last Sunday.
“They are showing progress and Bruce (Kangwa) who was the most affected is also showing improvement thanks to the medical team. Rahman (Kutsanzira) is completely out, he has a plaster,” said Kaindu.
Kangwa had to be put on oxygen and drip after the Bantu Rovers match as he said he was having breathing difficulties.
“It will be a tricky tie. After beating them twice they will be out to gain leverage and better their last performance. The fact that we will be playing away will not affect us. Maybe the surface of the pitch might alter our style of play, but we will
manage,” said the former Bosso striker.
Charles Sibanda could be in the starting line-up having struck a rich scoring vein and could be thrown in with Joel Ngodzo, Valentine Ndaba or Welcome Ndiweni who is back from suspension. Gabriel Nyoni, Knox Mutizwa, Mthulisi Maphosa or Erick Mudzingwa could be used.