ZIFA vice-president Omega Sibanda says the national football governing body feels challenged for failing to secure sponsorship for the FA Cup, following the launch of the 16-team Southern Region tournament bankrolled to the tune of $12 000 by a local company.
LG Foods, run by Bulawayo businessman Larrence Gwati, will be sponsoring the 16-team tournament that will feature eight clubs from the Zifa Southern Region Division One, three from the Bulawayo Province Division Two, three from Division Three and two from the Matabeleland North Division Two.
During the launch of the tournament at Raylton Sports Club on Wednesday evening, Sibanda said he would be taking the news of the tournament unveiling to Zifa president Cuthbert Dube as he felt it was a challenge to the national football body which has failed to run an FA Cup since 2007.
“We at Zifa national feel very much challenged and the truth is we don’t have the FA Cup. But I promise it’s going to be there very soon. At least I will tell my president that these guys are really challenging us — the regions, the provinces and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) are getting sponsorship, why not us?
“Every day we talk of debts and courts that are attaching our property. But if we get such sponsorship and desist from doing the wrong things, then I am sure these sponsors will be there every day. We are taking a leaf from you regions. I know the Northern Region has done it, the Eastern Region told me they would be doing it again,” he said.
The last FA Cup was sponsored by CBZ Bank in 2007 and was won by Mwana Africa, coached by Willard Mashinkila Khumalo when they beat Chapungu 1-0.
The then National Breweries, now Delta Beverages, who sponsor the PSL, pulled out of sponsoring the tournament in 1997.
The LG Foods tournament, also known as the Zifa Southern Region Super-16 Knockout Tournament, will start mid-October on a date to be advised.
Zifa Southern Region Division One log-leaders Black Boots have been drawn against Division Two side BCC Golden Stars in the first round while Ntabazinduna will take on Casmyn, also in Division Two.
Technosphere are away to Division Two side Ajax Hotspurs while ZPC Hwange date Matabeleland North Division Two side Magagasi of Victoria Falls.
Plumtree Chiefs are up against Bulawayo Division Three side LG Vultures while Trumus will be home to Bulawayo Division Three side Toronto.
Tsholotsho FC will host Matabeleland North Division Two side Makomo with Hwange Juniors taking on Bulawayo Division Three side Talent Vision.
The launch and draw of the tournament was attended by Zifa Southern Region chairman Musa Mandaza, his board members, clubs and various football stakeholders that included former Zimbabwe Saints chairman Vincent Pamire and former Highlanders coach Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu.
Winners of the tournament will walk away with $2 000 with the losing finalists pocketing $1 500.
Losing semi-finalists will get $750 each with the player of the tournament, goalkeeper of the tournament and the top goal-scorer each getting $200.
Gwati, who will take care of the referees, said clubs travelling would get financial assistance.