Battle for Chibuku

HARARE - With their Premiership status for next season not yet guaranteed, Harare City, Bulawayo City and Shabanie Mine will be looking for some solace in the Chibuku Super Cup semi-finals today.

Barbourfields Stadium plays host to a double header this afternoon when the last four round of the country’s premier football knockout competition takes place.

Harare City will go head to head with Bulawayo City in the first semi-final set for 1pm while Shabanie clash with How Mine in the second semi-final at 3pm.

Of these four teams, only How Mine are certain they will be part of the Castle Lager Premiership next season.

Kelvin Kaindu’s side currently sit in sixth place on the log table with 43 points with only five games to go before the season ends.

At the start of the season, the gold miners were playing some good football and looked like they were going to be serious title contenders.

Chikurupati’s progress was, however, hampered by a serious financial crisis that crippled the club and saw players go for at least three months without getting paid.

Their league form evaporated and from being just a single point behind the log leaders, the Bulawayo side now find themselves 16 points behind FC Platinum.

The Chibuku Super Cup now represents the only route for silverware for Kaindu and they will be confident of reaching the final when they face the Chinda Boys this afternoon.

Shabanie also started the league campaign on a good note but with their well-documented financial problems, it was always going to be hard for them to sustain that form over a long period.

The Chinda Boys go into today’s semi-final occupying the last relegation slot in 15th place with only 31 points.

They are in danger of going back to the second tier league after only spending a single season in the top flight.

But over the years, Shabanie have shown that they can be dangerous in cup competitions by winning the Madison Trophy, OK Woza Bhora Cup, BP Cup and the BancABC Sup8r Cup.

The Chinda Boys technical manager Taku Shariwa is confident that his side will book a place in the final today.          

“It’s going to be a tough game, in terms of tactics How Mine are one of the best,” Shariwa said.

“But if you look at our reverse fixture at Maglas Stadium we beat them although they were the better side. We look forward to meeting them, they play exciting football and they have a brilliant coach.

“For us reaching the semis is a great achievement, look at the teams we went past, ZPC Kariba and CAPS.

“Now we face How Mine, we couldn’t ask for more. This is what happens in a cup situation for you to be among the best you must beat the best; we are prepared to fight it out.”

Despite their financial muscle, Harare City have struggled to turn that into dominance in the league where they are also in danger of facing the chop at the end of the season.

Philani “Beef” Ncube’s side come into today’s semi-final against Bulawayo City just three points off the last relegation slot.

However, the Sunshine Boys have been one of the most consistent teams in this competition since its return four years ago.

In 2014, Harare City reached the final where they lost on penalties to FC Platinum in controversial circumstances.

The following year, the Sunshine Boys won the tournament when they beat Dynamos in the final and last year they were knocked out in the semi-finals by FC Platinum.

This time around Ncube believes they can go all the way and win their second Chibuku Super Cup title. 

“One thing for sure is that we want to go all the way and win the tournament,” Ncube said last week.

“But obviously it’s not going to be easy because we are also facing a relatively tricky side in Bulawayo City.

“They will not make it easy for us. But we know what we want and we are going to work hard to ensure we get our intended result. We need to stay focused on the task at hand.”

Bulawayo City are one of the teams that play the most beautiful game in the top flight but results have also been inconsistent.

Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu’s side come into today’s match also in danger of being relegated as they sit in 11th place just four points above the drop zone.

However, playing at home today will give them a huge advantage as they seek to reach their first major cup final since promotion last season.
  
Chibuku Super Cup

Semi-finals

Today: Bulawayo City v Harare City (Barbourfields, 1pm), How Mine v Shabanie Mine (Barbourfields, 3pm).

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