Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FATIGUE might haunt ZPC Kariba players as the side will have to travel at least 4 200km in three weekends after proceeding to the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup at the expense of Bulawayo City.
ZPC Kariba travelled about 1 000km to and from Zvishavane for the Chibuku Super Cup preliminary round played on Saturday at Mandava Stadium.
The electricity power generators switched off Bulawayo City, winning 4-1 after penalty shootouts with the match having ended 0-0 in regulation time.
By progressing to the first round proper to be played on August 20-21, ZPC Kariba booked a date against Bulawayo Chiefs in Bulawayo which is 806km from their base. This means they will travel 1 612km.
Before coming to Bulawayo for the Chibuku Super Cup first round encounter against Chiefs, ZPC Kariba will on Sunday August 15 make a trip to the City of Kings to face Chiefs in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League assignment.
Besides fatigue that might strike players from travelling by road and enduring long hours in a bus, ZPC Kariba’s coach Rodwell Dhlakama has a “headache” of managing the load that he will give his players in preparation for the matches.
“We’re happy to have progressed to the next stage of the tournament and now we’ve to face the real problem of managing fatigue.
The next coming weeks will be tough for us because we will travel a lot.
Besides the physical toll that this might have on players, it’s also important to have everyone mentally prepared because of the demands to play the cup and league games.
“We want to enjoy playing in the Chibuku Super Cup and to keep enjoying that, we also need to make sure that we do well in the league as we fight for our survival which will mean even next season, we’re able to participate in the cup tournament.
So, the reality we’re faced with is striking a balance between surviving relegation and building players’ confidence by winning league and cup games,” said Dhlakama.
He praised his charges for eliminating City from the tournament.
For Bulawayo City, it was their third consecutive defeat that coach Farai Tawachera picked up a positive in the sense that they managed to be level after 90 minutes.
City had lost league games to Highlanders and Herentals by identical 1-0 scorelines.
“In football there are three results; a win, draw and defeat and in cup games it’s either you win or lose and unfortunately we lost to ZPC Kariba.
The lads did their best, there are positives we picked up and we will go back to our training grounds to work on our shortcomings as we focus on fighting for survival,” said Tawachera.
Meanwhile, Whawha will face Dynamos in the first round after edging Cranborne Bullets 8-7 after penalty shootouts. The game had ended 1-1 in regulation time.
The other first round matches will see defending champions FC Platinum taking on Tenax CS FC, while Chicken Inn open their account against Harare City.
The other first round matches will see Manica Diamonds taking on Yadah, Triangle United locking horns with Highlanders, Black Rhinos facing Caps United and Ngezi Platinum Stars playing Herentals.