Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FC Talen Vision will begin their defence of the Landa John Nkomo Memorial Cup with a semi-final date against Southern Region Division One champions Bulawayo City in what should be a thriller.
Vision, who beat last season’s First Division champions Hwange 1-0, will be hoping to make amends for losing the league championship to City by powering to the final.
Lovemore Dube, Vision’s spokesperson, said they will head into the semi-finals with the underdogs tag. He said they had recalled their players, who had started their off-season break, into camp.
“We’re grateful for an opportunity to play in an event that celebrates the life and legacy of one of our icons as a region, as country and as a people. We are going into the match as underdogs, like we’ve been all season, and are looking forward to a great game. We’ve sent an SOS to our players that we had allowed to break camp on the understanding that the season is over,” said Dube.
“We can’t afford to let slip an opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of an icon through football. We’re happy that the organisers of the event have promised to avail tournament rules and regulations that the teams will follow.”
Zifa Southern Region board member responsible for competitions Fiso Siziba said the semi-finals will be played after consultations with the clubs, following the death of Vision’s founding member Wellington Wonder Nyathi on Sunday.
“We will communicate the dates for the semi-finals and final in due course because our plans have been affected by the sad news of the passing of FC Talen Vision founding member and kit manager Nyathi. Our condolences to the Nyathi and Talen Vision families,” said Siziba.
Dube said the passing away of Nyathi, who he described as “close to the players and technical team”, might have a “knock” on effect on the psychological preparedness of their players.
City spokesperson Thandiwe Moyo welcomed the decision by the organisers to lessen the burden on clubs by having a bias on the seeding of teams.
The other semi-final pits Makomo and ZPC Hwange, who will clash in the coal mining town.
“Surely the decision to have Bulawayo teams facing each other and the Hwange teams playing that side is plausible as it eliminates high travelling costs for clubs. The tournament is about celebrating the life of our dear father Landa John Nkomo and we are truly grateful to be part of these celebrations. We hope to have a good show in the tournament,” said Moyo.
Liquor Hub are sponsoring the tournament whose winners will take home $3 000, runners-up $2 500 and the losing semi-finalists $2 000 each.
Liquor Hub will also sponsor the Southern Region Division One League stars’ awards. – @ZililoR