FOUR Premiership teams will get an early start to the season when they take part in the annual Cephas George Msipa Scholarship Trust charity football tournament in Gweru and Zvishavane this weekend.
Having started off with FC Platinum — also the inaugural winners — and Shabanie Mine last year, the organisers have added Bulawayo giants Highlanders and returnees Chapungu.
Platinum and Shabanie will clash at Mandava on Saturday while Bosso travel to Ascot for a date with Chapungu on the same day with the winners meeting in Zvishavane the following day.
Tournament organiser Primrose Faku said they were getting ready for the tournament and urged fans to come in their numbers.
“We are going to have four teams participating in this year’s tournament. Highlanders is going to play Chapungu at Ascot Stadium in Gweru while FC Platinum and Shabanie Mine will meet at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane on Saturday. The winners will clash in the final to be played at Mandava on Sunday,” she said.
Faku said the aim of having the tournament is to raise funds for the CG Msipa Scholarship Trust.
“The scholarships are for primary, secondary students as well as those from the tertiary institutions. We have been getting support from companies, but because the country is facing a cash crisis we have decided to include the ordinary people. The money raised from gate-takings will go to the scholarship. Participating teams will get a token of appreciation,” she said.
The teams that lose on Saturday will get $2 000 each while the runners up will pocket $3 000 with the winners of the tournament expected to walk away with $5 000 and a trophy.
She urged fans to come and support their community initiative.
“We are appealing to football fans to come and support the students in our country. This is a community initiative that is aimed at enhancing our community through education,” Faku said.
While this is a charity event, all the teams will be able to use some of their new players and those on trial as they gear up for the new season.
Highlanders have brought in Valentine Ndaba, Khumbulani Banda, Canadian striker Phillippe Barriault and goalkeeper Jean-Felix Lemieux, Welcome Ndiweni and Joel Ngodzo and are likely to be a major draw card this weekend. Platinum have Tarisai Rukanda, Njabulo Ncube, Wisdom Mutasa and Walter Musona as their latest acquisitions which coach Lloyd Mutasa will be keen to test in a competitive match. Shabanie are on a rebuilding exercise have lost not only their coach, but also seven players while the fans will also be interested to see what Chapungu have to offer.