HWANGE-BASED Castle Lager Premier Soccer League aspirants Technosphere have pulled out of the inaugural $12 000 Zifa Southern Region/LG Foods 16-team tournament which kicks off today citing financial challenges to travel to Bulawayo for the first round tie against Ajax Hotspurs at Raylton Sports Club.
The club, eyeing a dance in the country top flight football league next year, says they have weighed options and decided not to take part in the competition as they will also be travelling outside Hwange for three league matches as the race for the Division One championship hots up.
Club secretary Mthulisi Ngwenya yesterday said they had communicated their position to Zifa.
“After this match we will be travelling outside Hwange for our next league match. Actually we have three league matches outside Hwange. We looked at the prize money and we have made a collective decision as a club that we will not be participating in the tournament. We have communicated that to Zifa. I don’t think we are coming,” Ngwenya said.
Zifa Southern Region chairman Musa Mandaza confirmed Technosphere’s pulling out, but said they were still negotiating with the club.
“They (Technosphere) indicated that they will not be participating but my fixtures secretary (Jabulani Chinyangarara) spoke to their boss. They are saying they will be playing three away fixtures and for them it will be taxing. We are still engaging them to re-think their position. Hopefully there will be a change of heart,” Mandaza said.
Ajax will probably cruise through to the next stage of the tournament.
LG Foods director Larrence Gwati indicated during the tournament draw that the company would be assisting small clubs who will be travelling for the tournament.
In another first round match slated for Raylton tomorrow Bulawayo Division Three side LG Vultures are up against last year’s Division One champions Plumtree Chiefs.
Division One side Ntabazinduna Prison host Division Two side Casmyn while ZPC Hwange travel to Victoria Falls for Matabeleland North Division side Amagagasi.
Bulawayo Division Three side Toronto, who are being assisted to travel, are away to Division One side Trumus in Victoria Falls while Tsholotsho FC entertain Matabeleland North Division Two side Makomo.
On Sunday, Bulawayo Division Two side BCC Golden Stars are home at Raylton to Black Boots while Division Three side Talen Vision take on Hwange Juniors at the same venue.
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.