THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is banking on multitudes of Highlanders fans to fill up Barbourfields (BF) Stadium as the Bulawayo giants take on How Mine in the ZNA Charity Shield semi-final on Sunday, a week before the 2015 league season starts.
Dynamos and Caps United meet in the second semi-final at Rufaro Stadium, Harare, on Sunday before the final to be play on a date to be announced.
Proceeds from the tournament will be channelled towards army charities that include Tsanga Lodge Convalescent Centre in the Eastern Highlands, Army Widows Orphans Benevolent Fund and the ZNA Benevolent Fund.
Without releasing the exact figure on how much they expect to raise from the BF semi-final, tournament spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore said they were expecting a large number of fans to throng Emagumeni on Sunday.
“We see fans coming in their thousands, especially Highlanders fans. It’s the first time for How Mine to take part in the tournament,” he said.
“We are looking forward to a big crowd. Fans will pay $3 for rest of the round and we have people working on how much to charge for the other areas. The VIP section will be $10. We know Highlanders have quite a number of fans in Bulawayo.”
How Mine head coach Luke Masomere pleaded with fans to come to BF and witness a good game and desist from hooliganism and violence.
“It’s going to be a good game as we prepare for the start of the PSL season. We don’t expect people to come wearing helmets. We want to play in a good atmosphere and fans have to learn to respect any of the three results of a game,” he said.
“At How Mine, we have been preparing well and I am happy to announce that three quarters of my players who had been injured are now doing light training. It is a positive development. We have had to do away with friendly matches because of injuries, but I will have the majority of those players on Sunday. It’s going to be an exciting game and let the better team win.”
Last year’s Golden Boot joint winner Charles Sibanda, goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya and striker Mgcini Sibanda could be up against their former paymasters Highlanders on Sunday with former Dynamos’ Tawanda Muparati and Devon Chafa.
Veteran former ZPC Kariba striker Limited Chikafa is with the goldminers.
Highlanders head coach Bongani Mafu was upbeat ahead of the clash against How Mine.
He has, however, ruled out the exciting King Nadolo and Godfrey Makaruse due to injury together with Ozias Zibande, Simba Sithole and Rahman Kutsanzira.
Mthulisi Maphosa and Knox Mutizwa will have to pass late fitness tests while Thomas Chideu, Nqobizitha Masuku and Teenage Hadebe are in Harare in camp with the Young Warriors in preparation for the All-Africa Games qualifier against Cameroon on March 21.
“It will be good to play against a star-studded team like How Mine. That’s where we will see if we could cope although we have a number of injuries. But we have enough cover,” Mafu said.
Winners of the final are set to pocket $12 000 with the runners-up walking away with $8 000 while the third and fourth placed teams will share will share $5 000.