Welcome back Sup8r, where art thou Zifa Cup?

THE Sup8r football knockout tournament is back with a bank and a bang!

On the Ball with Innocent Kurwa

The bank is of course BancABC and the big bang is that winners of the tournament will walk away with a whopping $120 000, greenbacks indeed, and a large prize money by Zimbabwe standards. In addition, each of the competing eight teams receives $15 000 – certainly enough to cover, more than adequately, travel costs and player allowances. Those exiting the tournament in the round of eight will remain with a healthy balance in their bank accounts!

The total package for the BancABC Sup8r is $258 000. This is an extremely generous amount given that the SuperSport-PSL deal is worth
$400 000 for the whole season. Hats off to BancABC! Hopefully all the matches in this tournament will be screened live on SuperSport, for providing full excitement to the fans and for giving BancABC the deserved mileage (Oh, some words simply cannot be changed to the metric system!)

The Sup8r is returning to the PSL calendar after a few years of absence. It is important now that the powers that be in football do as much as is possible to retain this tournament and, hopefully, make a permanent feature of the season, something along the lines of the League Cup in England, with the name of the tournament changing according to whoever the sponsor is.

It is pretty unfortunate that we do not have a national FA knockout competition, all because of the perennial bungling at Zifa. The national association should go all out to bring back the Zifa Cup. Sponsors should not be a problem, but only if Zifa put their house in order and there was best practice corporate governance in the mother body.

What a week we had in sport. England and India reached the ICC Champions Trophy final with emphatic wins over South Africa and Sri Lanka in the semi-finals last Wednesday and Thursday. Our neighbours South Africa were beaten all systems out by hosts England, losing by seven wickets, while Sri Lanka were equally smacked by their Asian neighbours and great rivals India, with the latter reaching the 182-run target with a victory margin of eight wickets.

The final between England and India is at Edgbaston, starting at 11.30am this morning, and it will be interesting to see how the England bowlers deal with the big hitters of India, especially openers Kohli and Dayan.

In the Confederations Cup in Brazil, African continental champions Nigeria left themselves with a mountainous task when they lost 1-2 to Uruguay in their second group match after a bright start with a 6-1 victory over little Tahiti. Nigeria have to beat world and European champions Spain in their last group match tonight in order to progress to the semi-finals as Uruguay will certainly beat Tahiti, the scoreline being the only issue to talk about.

Tahiti were beaten 10-0 by Spain in their second group match. Talking of little Tahiti, the South Pacific island has a population of 178 000 and all of these would have fitted into the giant Maracana Stadium which had a capacity of 200 000 when it was opened in 1950.

Of course today the stadium has been rebuilt for the 2014 World Cup with a capacity of 96 000, more than half of Tahiti’s population. In the other group Brazil and Italy are already in the semi-finals.

The Under-20 Fifa World Cup finals opened in Turkey on Friday with a difference — in that the host country were not playing in any of the four matches played on the first day, as is usual the norm. Two teams from Africa, Ghana and Nigeria, started their group matches on a losing note with Ghana going down 1-3 to France in Group A while Nigeria lost 2-3 to Portugal in Group B.

In the other opening matches, Spain beat US 4-1 in Group A while South Korea prevailed 2-1 over Cuba in Group B. The remaining two African teams in the tournament, Mali and Egypt are in Group D and E, respectively. Mali’s group also features Mexico, Greece and Paraguay while Egypt are in the group with Chile, England and Iraq. The remaining groups in the finals are C (hosts Turkey, El Salvador, Colombia and Australia) and F (New Zealand, Uruguay, Croatia and Uzbekistan).

The Wimbledon Open tennis tournament starts tomorrow morning in London and in a fortnight we will know who has won the biggest grass Grand Slam tournament on the tennis circuit.

The debate over Zifa and the Warriors refuses to go away for the time being. I agree with my brother Vincent Pamire on the need to call a football indaba with a wide range of people, as Pamire urges, (not just Zifa’s blue-eyed boys who sing for their next meal).

Pamire could not have said it better and more truthfully when he said that one of the sicknesses the current Zifa executive is suffering from is regarding any person who criticises them as an enemy.

This poor mentality explains the farcical expenditure that Zifa president Cuthbert Dube went into carting sports journalists from the southern region to Harare simply to indoctrinate them against Harare City Council FC chairman Leslie Gwindi who had lambasted Zifa at the Bulawayo Press Club. It would have been cheaper and more credible if Cuthbert Dube or his deputy Ndumiso Gumede had come to the Bulawayo Press Club instead.

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