|‘DeMbare, Bosso not fans’ choice’|
|Wednesday, 06 March 2013 19:13|
SPONSORS of the Charity Shield, NetOne, have remained adamant that giants Dynamos and Highlanders were not the people’s choice for teams to take part in the tournament set for Mandava this weekend under a new format despite an outcry from the Harare giants.
Traditionally, the Charity Shield has been played between the winners of the Premiership and the winners of the premier knock-out cup and Dynamos beat Motor Action in last year’s ill-fated edition.
There was drama before the match last year at the National Sports Stadium when Dynamos threatened to pull out of the Charity Shield following a row over the logos to be used on the shirts.
NetOne had made shirts emblazoned with their logos on the front while DeMbare wanted to give the rights to brand the front specifically for their principal sponsor.
Last week, a snap survey of the voting showed Dynamos leading while Monomotapa were second and Bosso were in third place with Caps United and FC Platinum following closely.
But in a sudden twist to the results, both Dynamos and Highlanders, who are both sponsored by BancABC, found themselves “failing” to garner enough votes from the short-message-service platform to secure slots in the Charity Shield.
Dynamos chairman Kenny Mubaiwa claimed dirty politics had elbowed his side out of the $300 000 Charity Shield tournament which will be staged at Mandava this weekend.
Caps United will play against FC Platinum while Monomotapa will play Chicken Inn in the other semi-final in Zvishavane on Saturday.
Winners from the semi-finals will feature in the final on Sunday with the Premiership hoping the matches will be live on Supersport 9.
Yesterday, NetOne managing director Reward Kangai said the sms platform that elbowed out Dynamos and Highlanders was done in a transparent manner.
In a draw conducted yesterday, the first game will feature Chicken Inn and Monomotapa at 1pm while the Green Machine and FC Platinum match will kick off at 3.30pm. The total prize money is $140 000 which will see the winning team walk away with $60 000, the runner up $40 000 and the two losing semi finalists $20 000 each.
The rest of the money will go towards kits, medals, accommodation, transport and marketing of the teams and the tournament.
Fans will have to fork out $3 to catch the action from the rest of the ground section of Mandava while the Upper grand stand will cost $5. The VIP and VVIP sections will be strictly for invited guests.
However, prior to this programme, there were accusations and counter-accusations concerning the transparency of the SMS voting platform which empowered supporters to choose the participating teams.
The sponsors this year moved away from the norm which pitted the reigning champions and winners of the major cup tournament from the previous season.
As such Monomotapa who charmed many football fans with their flowing brand of football last season were the fans’ favourite with 20 825 votes while Caps United were second with 16 013.
Chicken Inn took the third slot after receiving 15 558 votes and FC Platinum completed the top four teams with 11 585.
DeMbare finished fifth with 10 275 and Highlanders were sixth with 8 080.
Speaking at the launch, Kangai said NetOne, E-Top Up and PSL could only view the votes as they came in with fluctuating submissions from the fans but could not manipulate them.
“Let me move straight into clarifying any doubts that are there within the media fraternity and the public at large. NetOne and the Premier Soccer League agreed to change the format for team selection this year to add to the excitement of the tournament.
“This was done through the SMS voting on short code 38080 and one simply had to SMS the word charity then the name of the team which they are voting for to constitute a valid entry into the voting platform.
“One was not restricted how many times one can vote for their team and this voting opened to NetOne subscribers and those from other networks, depending on the service provider’s terms and conditions. This was a transparent process where the PSL, Netone and E-Top Up could view the votes that come in but could not manipulate them in any way. This web portal for the SMS voting platform was hosted by Dimension Data in Johannesburg, South Africa, a renowned server hosting company,” he said.
Kangai said the move to host the tournament in Mandava was part of their organisation’s reaching out to give an opportunity to people outside the major cities to enjoy football as the season begins.
“We promised the public before the voting started that we will take football to places where NetOne has not held a NetOne Charity Shield soccer tournament before. As the network with the widest coverage and lowest rates we felt we must afford other soccer loving fans outside the capital an opportunity to watch the season opener.
“For all the soccer fans coming to Mandava Stadium upon purchase of your ticket you will get a free Easycall Sim card,” Kangai added.
Farai Chibisa, a representative of the auditing firm Grant Thornton Camelsa, said they were in the process of verifying the voting excise and would soon publish a detailed report.
Monomotapa’s chairman Joseph Mukoki said they were grateful to be taking part in the tournament.
“When the voting process was announced we were quick to understand what it means to us to participate in this tournament. We wanted to participate and understood how to do it. Hence we put up a splendid show. We were very active on the social media appealing to our fans even those who do not have the chance to come to the stadium to send in their votes.
“Even if we might have had support from Dynamos fans the convener’s message on the social media does not guarantee that they voted for us but if they did we are grateful,” Mukoki said.
Bonnet Moyo from Chicken Inn said their team’s performance last year under the mentorship of the late Adam Ndlovu marketed them as a team and the NetOne Charity Shield was now the best platform to announce them.