BULAWAYO – Focus in the Southern Region Division One League on Wednesday shifts from the promotion race to the inaugural Machache Meats Tournament that will be contested by all the 16 teams in the league.
League trailblazers Bulawayo Chiefs host Zimbabwe Saints in Plumtree in what is arguably the pick of the first round matches.
Chiefs have established themselves as the favourites for promotion to the elite league after opening a nine – point lead at the summit of the log but Saints have found a new lease of life under former Highlanders development coach Mark Mathe.
This sets the stage for a potential thriller at Plumtree’s Dingumuzi Stadium.
Tsholotsho head coach Lizwe Sweswe said he would give a chance to his fringe players when his in-form charges clash with Ntabazinduna in Tsholotsho.
“We are going to rest some of our regulars for the cup game because we don’t want to lose focus in the championship race,” Sweswe said.
Tsholotsho are currently enjoying a purple patch and have climbed to third position on the log but Sweswe said they would not underrate Ntabazinduna, who are the league’s bottom side.
“All teams in the first division are strong and some have already made reinforcements and so we cannot afford to underrate Ntabazinduna,” said Sweswe.
“The guys who will be given a chance to do duty for us will have to rise to the challenge because we would love to progress to the next stage.”
White City Stadium will be the venue for another mouth watering clash between former top-flight side Quelaton and Lobengula based New West.
Quelaton has not been doing well of late and has lost ground in the title race while New West has notched up a couple of victories to stabilise their season after going through a barren spell.
The tournament is sponsored to the tune of $16 000 and the winners will pocket $3 000 while the runners up will walk away with $1 850.
Teams that will fail to progress past the first stage of the competition today will get $200 for their efforts.
Wednesday: Bulawayo Chiefs v Zimbabwe Saints (Dingumuzi 3pm), Black Boots v AjaxHotspurs (Fair Bridge 3pm), Quelaton v New West (White City 3pm),Bantu Rovers v Bulawayo Jumbos (Luveve 3pm), Technosphere v Mpumalanga(Hwange 3pm), ZPC Hwange v Mkhosana (Hwange 3pm), Hwange U’20 v RufaroRovers (Hwange 3pm), Tsholotsho v Ntabazinduna (Tsholotsho 3pm)