Another Mbada journey begins

HARARE - The draw for the Mbada Diamonds Cup, on tonight, is set to inspire Zimbabwe’s struggling footballers to dream big again in the country’s richest knockout competition.

Last year’s winners Dynamos and losing finalist Motor Action hogged the limelight by pocketing US$75 000 and US$50 000 respectively while the country’s small teams surprised many by making an unexpectedly good run in the affluent competition.

Zimbabwe Saints, Kiglon and Shooting Stars, who all got relegated at the end of last season, defied the bookmakers by knocking out much-fancied opponents out of the $1 million tourney.

Chauya Chikwata, along with other losing semi-finalists FC Platinum, pocketed $10 000 whilst losing quarterfinalists Kiglon and Shooting Stars went away $7 500 richer.

The great run by the struggling sides was not difficult to understand.

Players who were rarely paid by their struggling clubs were for the first time getting prompt payments soon after matches directly from Mbada.

The diamond company, which removed the financial burden off teams by catering for the teams’ transport requirements during the tournament, also gave a $5 000 appearance fee to teams that didn’t go beyond the first round.

After taking the cup to far-flung areas like Chiredzi last year, football fans in other remote towns are obviously keeping their fingers crossed in the hope that the organisers will choose their areas for this year’s edition.

Last year’s Mbada draw dramatically paired together bitter enemies Dynamos and CAPS United in the first round, a development which led to Makepekepe falling by the wayside at the very first hurdle courtesy of a 1-0 defeat to the Glamour Boys.

Makepekepe, who have found the going tough in this year’s Castle Premiership campaign, will be hoping this time to be spared the agony of playing another big gun in the first round.

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