Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter
A thriller is on the cards when champions Chicken Inn and city rivals Highlanders clash in the Commander Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Charities Cup quarter-final tie at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
FC Platinum will play host to How Mine at Mandava Stadium tomorrow while Caps United and Harare City lock horns at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Harare giants Dynamos have already been ditched out of the tournament after falling 0-1 to ZPC Kariba last week.
Besides performing their corporate responsibility roles, Chicken Inn and Highlanders’ captains Danny Phiri and Felix Chindungwe are taking the encounter seriously.
The captains spoke about the need to build confidence among their players by winning Sunday’s game as well as claiming the bragging rights.
“Every game is important to us, be it a friendly, cup or league match. I believe Sunday’s game is no different and it presents us with an opportunity to cultivate that winning culture. It might be a charity game, but it’s a very competitive one and we’re really looking forward to Sunday. Remember, this is Chicken Inn and pride is at stake here. They’re the champions, we are the City’s giants and we’ve to show that we are deserving Bulawayo giants,” said Chindungwe.
The last time the two teams met was in the final of the Easycall Cup, which Highlanders won 1-0. Both clubs have retained most of the players that played in the Easycall Cup final in December.
Chicken Inn striker Obidiah Tarumbwa will be facing his former paymasters Bosso for the first time following a fine 2015 season at Highlanders.
The Gamecocks will also use the match to give game time to players that were not part of the Caf Champions League preliminary round squad against South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns’ Phiri said: “There’s need to win such games so that we build our confidence. For us to challenge for bigger things, we’ve to start by winning such tournaments. Everyone is raring to go and this competition presents an opportunity to other guys to show that they deserve to be part of the squad. Remember we’ve some players resting.”
Phiri, striker Edmore Chirambadare, goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze, defender Lawrence Mhlanga and midfielder Tafadzwa Kutinyu will not be part of Sunday’s encounter as they have been given time off.
Highlanders are likely to give their youngsters, midfielder Adrian Silla as well as strikers Prince Dube and Danmore Chakwana a run following a good showing during the Bulawayo Football Festival a fortnight ago.
Meanwhile, the tournament’s organising secretary Major Fabion Chitungo appealed to fans to come in their numbers to support the worthy cause.
He said they targeted raising at least $500,000 from all the fundraising activities for this year’s ZNA charities.
Proceeds from the tournament will go to the ZNA charities, which are Tsanga Lodge Convalescent Centre in Nyanga, Army Widows and Orphans’ Benevolent Fund that caters for the financial needs of widows, widowers and orphans of deceased members.
There is also the ZNA Benevolent Fund aimed at boosting troops’ morale internally or externally, ZNA Schools Welfare Trust Fund that caters for various schools under the military institution and the ZNA Patients’ Welfare Fund that offers assistance and goodies to members admitted in hospitals and those ill at home.
Tomorrow: FC Platinum v How Mine (Mandava)
Sunday: Highlanders v Chicken Inn (Barbourfields)