ZIMBABWE – PREMIERSHIP giants Dynamos and Highlanders, the country’s most decorated teams, will battle it out in this year’s Bob Super Cup tournament, which has assumed a new format, and is set to be the biggest edition so far.
The tournament, which has gone annual since its grand inception three years ago, is staged as part of celebrations to mark President Mugabe’s birthday, with this year’s edition scheduled to be officially launched at a fund-raising dinner in the capital on February 1.
President Mugabe, who was born on February 21, will be turning 89 this year and the showdown between DeMbare and Bosso has been dubbed Bob ‘89 Super Cup.
Interestingly, it is the first time since the tournament’s inception that Dynamos and Highlanders, who are famed for their Battle of Zimbabwe encounters, will be clashing.
Harare businessman and brother to Minister Xavier Kasukuwere, Stan Kasukuwere, who is leading the organising committee, revealed yesterday that they wanted to stage the final over two legs with the first of the clashes being pencilled in for Barbourfields on February 10.
It’s also the day the 2013 Nations Cup final will be held but, with the match starting at 8pm, it means local football fans can go to Barbourfields, for a 3pm showdown, and still watch the final, on television, at the National Stadium in Johannesburg.
The second leg would then be played at Rufaro on February 24. Kasukuwere, who leads an organising committee that also includes Jeffrey Jenje and Echo Meza, said they had also stepped up their fund-raising efforts as they want the tournament to be bigger than the US$200 000 budget used for the 2012 competition that was won by FC Platinum who beat Hwange in the final.
Hwange had sensationally knocked out Dynamos in the semi-finals while FC Platinum got the better of Motor Action in the other clash at Sakubva.
But, this year, it will be a battle with a difference as Dynamos and Highlanders, who are also two of the oldest clubs in the Premiership, will feature in what promises to be two massive clashes at Barbourfields and Rufaro.
DeMbare and Bosso also fought an intriguing battle for the Premiership title last year that only needed goal difference to separate the two giants on the last day of the season after both sides ended tied on 69 points.
Kasukuwere is also hopeful that even the fund-raising dinner at the Rainbow Towers will be a massive outing where he said various memorabilia and merchandise would also be auctioned. The former Dynamos vice-chairman said the tournament will have junior select teams from the Northern and Southern regions fighting it out as curtain raisers as part of efforts to guarantee the future of the domestic game by using such competitions as a platform to also to identify talent.
But there is no doubting the spotlight towards match day will fall on the showdown between reigning Coach of the Year, Callisto Pasuwa, and the man whose strong challenge he shrugged off – Kelvin Kaindu – as they pit their wits against each other once more.
The Bob 89 Super Cup will also provide Pasuwa with a chance to fine-tune his side as it will come just a week before they plunge in to Champions League action with a preliminary round date against Lesotho Correctional Services on the weekend of February 15-17.
However, Kasukuwere said they were not leaving “anything to chance to ensure that we have two great family outings in Bulawayo and at Rufaro as we join the rest of the nation in celebrating this momentous occasion.
“This year we need to surpass what we did last year and the previous edition as well because our aim has always been to ensure that the tournament gets bigger and bigger as it also grows in age.
“The tournament has also since assumed a national outlook and we believe that having two of the country’s biggest clubs fighting it out is in line with the magnitude of the event where we are once again using football to celebrate the life of the President.
“Although the fund-raising efforts and all the preparatory work has started in earnest, the official launch will be done during the fundraising dinners where we also have a number of exciting activities lined up including the auctioning of memorabilia, jerseys, and some medals from the inaugural Bob 87 Super Cup.
“Everything will then culminate in the grand final at Rufaro where the birthday boy (President Mugabe) will then join us as the guest of honour,’’ Kasukukuwere said.
In the inaugural competition Dynamos overcame bitter city rivals CAPS United 3-2 with the Glamour Boys pocketing US$25 000 while Makepekepe received US$15 000.
Both teams had also earlier received US$30 000 each from President Mugabe at the end of their showdown at Rufaro on February 27 in 2011 as a gesture of appreciation from him.
Given that stakes in the tournament have been growing with each year, it should be a highly competitive encounter when DeMbare and Bosso meet.
But it is against the background of their “unfinished business in which they drew their league meetings last season’’ that Dynamos and Highlanders could set the tone for their 2013 campaigns in the Bob 89 showdown.