THE rebranded Net One Easy Call Cup draw served up some interesting dishes, with Premier Soccer League champions Dynamos facing How Mine while current leaders Chicken Inn face a resurgent ZPC Kariba.
The draw, conducted last Thursday in Harare, also saw inform FC Platinum being drawn against struggling Highlanders while Caps United will face the red hot coals of Hwange in the quarterfinals.
The tournament is meant for teams that finished in the top eight last season.
From the eight, none has won a major cup this year with Dynamos only claiming the Bob91 Super Cup, Highlanders winning the ZNA Commanders Charity Shield and FC Platinum bagging the Independence Trophy and this represents a big chance for them to win something tangible.
Venues are yet to be decided but PSL chief executive Kennedy Ndebele intimated that the games would be spread across the country, basically meaning no team is likely to enjoy home advantage.
The tournament, won by Triangle last year after they beat Dynamos in the final, was known as the One Wallet Cup and has been in doubt for some time having been initially scheduled for May and June.
Triangle are ineligible as they finished the 2014 season in ninth spot.
NetOne managing director Reward Kangai said the tournament is sponsored to the tune of $433,000, but the dummy cheque presented the media showed a paltry $433 only!
No changes were made to the prize money, with the winners set to pocket $80,000, runners up $50,000, while losing finalists get $30,000. Losing quarter-finalists will get $20,000 each.
Kangai said despite the economic hardships that have forced many companies to close shop, NetOne decided to go ahead with the tournament.
“Many companies have downsized significantly, as revenue inflows nose-dived. Just like them, NetOne also felt the pinch and has made appropriate adjustments to weather the storm,” he said.
“As a survival strategy, one of the open options could have been a reduction in our corporate social responsibility activities, with soccer as a prime target.
“However, cognisant of the massive following of this sport, we refused to sacrifice the beautiful game.”
Net One will cater for the teams’ accommodation and transport costs as well as branded uniforms for the tournament.Advertisement
Caps United and Hwange will be the only sides without a shirt sponsor in the competition, giving Net One maximum mileage.
Dynamos are Highlanders are powered by BancABC, Platinum by BoltGas, Chicken Inn by the same company, How Mine by Metallon Gold Zimbabwe while ZPC have, of late, been donning kits with the ZB Bank logo.
The tournament starts next weekend with the semi-finals set for the first weekend of December and the final on the 12th.
Quarter-final draw: Dynamos vs How Mine, ZPC Kariba vs Chicken Inn, Caps United vs Hwange, FC Platinum vs Highlanders