Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
THERE were no surprises in the first round of the inaugural Zifa Southern Region LG Foods $12,000 knockout tournament with all the big guns sailing through to the quarter-finals.
Only troubled Hwange-based Technosphere failed to fulfil their match against Bulawayo’s Ajax Hotspurs with news from the coal mining town painting a gloomy future for the Zifa Southern Region Division One championship contenders.
Unconfirmed reports say that their principal sponsors have since pulled the plug on their sponsorship.
Their failure to travel to Bulawayo saw Hotspurs progressing on a 3-0 scoreline.
Another championship chasing side, Tsholotsho FC needed a penalty shootout to boot a fired up Makomo, themselves firm favourites to win the Zifa Matabeleland North Division Two League title, out of the tourney after the two teams were tied nil-all after regulation time.
Lizwe Sweswe, the Tsholotsho coach had however taken a gamble by throwing in his developmental side, arguing that he was reserving his first team for the big weekend top of the table clash against Blackboots.
The match, set for Fairbridge, has the potential of deciding who wins the sole ticket to the Premier Soccer League.
The Tsholotsho match, watched by a sizeable crowd, was also attended by former Highlanders, Caps United coach Mkhuphali Masuku, members of the media as well as a senior Savanna Tobacco marketing executive.
Winners of the tournament will walk away with $2,000 with the losing finalists pocketing $1,500.
Losing semi-finalists will get $750 each with the player of the tournament, goalkeeper of the tournament and the top goal-scorer each getting $200.