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ORGANISERS of the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Cup were yesterday forced to cancel the tournament after Bulawayo giants Highlanders refused to take part.
The match, which was supposed to be played over two legs, will now be replaced by the zifa Unity Cup set for Barbourfields next Tuesday.
The Joshua Nkomo Legacy Cup was cast in doubt on Wednesday afternoon when the Bosso leadership said they had not consented to be part of the event that had been scheduled at Rufaro on Sunday and the second leg in Bulawayo on the Unity Day next Tuesday.
Highlanders’ chief executive officer, Ndumiso Gumede yesterday said they had requested the match be sanctioned by Zifa and the Premier Soccer League before they could consent but the clearances only came late.
Gumede said Bosso had sent their players home to rest after winning the NetOne Easycall Cup last Sunday and are not in a position to recall them and prepare adequately for the match.
“We received the clearances today (yesterday) and now we have only one day to call the players from wherever they are to come in camp and then prepare to travel to Harare for that proposed game.
“Surely this does not make sense at all. It’s very inconvenient and as Highlanders our position is clear, we are not going there to play that match. “We have told the organisers that their clearances came late and that if they want that match to be played then they should go ahead and look for another team,” said Gumede.
zifa Communications manager, Xolisani Gwesela confirmed the tournament has been cancelled. Instead, the giants will now clash in the Zifa Unity Cup next Tuesday. Gwesela said winners will walk away with US$20 000 while US$15 000 has been set aside for the losing team. The match will be part of the National Unity Day celebrations and supporters will be allowed in free of charge.
Gwesela said the match will take the place of the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Cup that is now likely to be held next year. The zifa spokesperson urged fans to come and fill the stadium and refrain from crowd violence. DeMbare and Bosso players, who are part of the national team squad preparing for the CHAN tournament will not be available for the clash.
“The Joshua Nkomo Legacy Shield which had been billed for this year has been postponed to pave way for the zifa Unity Cup, and will now be the 2016 season opener. “Football can unite our nation and we can celebrate this landmark agreement towards preserving peace and harmony through football.
“We appeal to the general public to celebrate the match in peace and brotherhood manner,” Gwesela told the Association’s website www.zifa.org.zw
The Unity Accord is an agreement between the country’s two major nationalist movements, the Zimbabwe African People”s Union led by the late Vice-president Joshua Nkomo and President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union party. The agreement was signed on December 22 in 1987 to form one united political party. by Eddie Chikamhi.Source: the herald