Mbada Diamonds Cup launched

HARARE - The 2014 edition of the Mbada Diamonds Cup was launched yesterday with a reduced sponsorship package under a new format.

The tournament now in its fourth year running, will see top the four teams, at the end of this year’s championship race take part with the winners set to pocket $50 000.

Runners-up are guaranteed $30 000 while semi-finalists will take home $15 000 with the other 12 teams that fail to make the top four set receive $10 000 each.

Last year’s edition of the tournament was sponsored to a staggering $1million and by lifting the country’s richest tournament last year, Highlanders pocketed $130 000.

In the previous three years, winners of the Mbada Cup have gone to represent the country in the African Confederations Cup.

The first three editions of the tournament featured 16 teams with Dynamos winning the trophy in 2011 and 2012 while Highlanders are the defending champions after winning the tournament last year.

Mbada Diamond’s corporate services executive, George Manyaya said faced with operational challenges, the diamond mining company is not in a position to fund the full tournament like in the previous years.

“We are concentrating on balancing between our efforts in enhancing our operational capacity and efficiency as well as fulfilling our normal CSR investment capacity,” Manyaya said at the launch yesterday.

“As you may be aware – the current environment poses its own operational challenges, which have affected us as a corporate and cumulatively our stakeholders. As a result we embarked on major cost cutting initiatives that have seen us reducing budgets in all facets.

“It is against this background that the 2014 edition of the Mbada Diamonds Cup comes in a different but more exciting format which we believe will make a big impact on the standard of competition.

“The competition will not hold the normal rounds of games that build up to the grand Cup final. Taking into consideration our operational needs and our commitment to uplift football in Zimbabwe we have agreed to strike a balance and spread the cake as cost containment is one of our targets this year.”

With the Premiership matches set to end on November 23, the Mbada Diamonds Cup is likely to commence the following weekend or at the start of December.

The diamond company will provide accommodation; playing kits for the participating teams while there will be also individual prize for the man-of-the- match awards.

Venues for the matches will be announced in due course.

However, with a reduced sponsorship and new format, Chibuku Super Cup winners are likely to represent the country in the continental competition.

If the season ends as it stands at the moment Dynamos, ZPC Kariba, CAPS United and Highlanders would be in the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

However, with still six matches to go before the season ends there could be more twist and turns in the championship run-in with teams like FC Platinum, Hwange, Chicken Inn and Harare City all within a touching distance of the top four.

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