The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Charities Soccer Shield will in 2017 be expanded to include all 16 teams that make up the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) assembly.
By Michael Kariati
This was revealed by ZNA commander, Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, who said they were considering having all the PSL clubs in the 2017 contest, unlike the eight which were picked for this year’s edition.
“As we grow, next year, we certainly want to include all the teams in the Premier Soccer League and make this tournament bigger,” said Sibanda.
Should that happen, the ZNA Charities Shield will become the third knockout tournament on the PSL calendar joining the Chibuku Super Cup, which Harare City won 2-1 at the expense of Dynamos, and the Easycall Cup, which went to Highlanders after a 1-0 victory over Chicken Inn.
Sibanda said the ZNA Charities Shield was now shifting from being an invitational tournament to a national competition since it is now on the PSL calendar. “It’s now on the Zimbabwe soccer calendar, and we are seeking to expand it even more,” added Sibanda.
With the tournament coming before the start of the season, the ZNA Charities Shield will take the form of the official season opener, as the Easycall Cup, which in the past carried that honour, has now been moved deep into the season.
However, this year’s competition attracted its share of criticism before the tournament itself had started. This was after it was announced that the competition would take an eight-team shape.
Concerns were raised after Triangle and Hwange, who finished in the top eight of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League standings, were not included in the competition, while ZPC Kariba who finished 10th and How Mine who were in 11th position, took their places in the competition.
Triangle finished fourth while Hwange finished eighth in the final standings of the 2016 PSL programme.
The winners of the ZNA Charities Shield will receive $75 000, while the runners up are guaranteed of $50 000. Last year, Highlanders won the competition 1-0 at the expense of Dynamos — courtesy of an Obediah Tarumbwa strike.