Chibuku Super Cup returns

HARARE - The draw for this year’s edition of the Chibuku Super Cup will be held on Friday in the capital with defending champions Harare City’s coach Mark Harrison determined to retain the title.

The Sunshine Boys wrote their own piece of history in the tournament by becoming the first team to lift the Chibuku Cup twice since it returned four years ago after beating How Mine 3-1 in the final at Rufaro Stadium in Harare.

Despite winning the prestigious tournament, Harare City, turned down an opportunity to represent the country in this year’s edition of the African Confederation Cup citing financial challenges.

The Sunshine Boys had also been relegated from the top flight at the end of last season but eventually bounced back after acquiring the franchise of the now defunct How Mine.

Although he had led the side to Chibuku Super Cup glory, Philani ‘Beefy’ Ncube was sacked as head coach following the side’s relegation.

Harrison had returned to the country as Harare City technical director mid last year and was then thrown into the hot seat.

City’s return to the top flight was only confirmed a week before the season commenced and despite preparing for life in the second tier, the club is punching above their weight in the Premiership.

Last week, the Sunshine Boys bounced back to winning ways with a slender 1-0 win over defending champions and current log leaders FC platinum at Rufaro Stadium.

This shows they have enough ammunition to defend their Chibuku Super Cup title but Harrison is not looking that far ahead.

“At the end of the day, we don’t want to put pressure on our players.

“Knockout games are different from the league and I think everybody has to appreciate that,” Harrison told the Daily News yesterday.

“You find that we won it last season and got relegated and that explains what I’m talking about.

“But obviously when you are in a competition you want to win but sometimes you need some bit of luck because it’s not really about how good you are on the day.

“We will definitely go there with the hope to defend our title.

“I’m sure the boys are motivated and will be desperate to lift the cup again.”

In 2015, when Harare City won their first Chibuku Super Cup after beating Dynamos 2-1 in the final at the National Sports Stadium they went on to represent the country in Africa.

Their stay in the Confederation Cup was, however, cut shot after they were knocked out in the first round by Zambian side Zanaco.

Harrison feels playing in Africa is a huge motivation to the players.

“Yeah, obviously representing the country in Africa is a huge incentive to the players and the club, you get to play with the best teams, meeting with best coaches and players,” he said.

With 18 teams in the Premiership, Friday’s draw is likely to revert to the format that was first used last season.

The bottom four clubs at the halfway stage of the league are likely to be paired in a preliminary eliminator round.

The two winners will then join the rest of the 14 teams in the first round proper of the competition.

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