WITH the ongoing Chibuku Super Cup tournament’s group stages having reached the halfway mark, competition remains stiff in Pool Three based at Sakubva Stadium, with all four teams still in with a chance to progress to the next round.
Manica Diamonds, Tenax, Black Rhinos and Cranborne Bullets have now all faced each other to complete the first round of the cluster phase.
The stage is set for the verse fixtures, yet it remains a closely contested affair as the quartet vies for the top two spots that come with a ticket to the quarter-finals.
None of the teams has enjoyed a perfect start to the campaign as each has dropped points, scoring and conceding.
Debutants, Cranborne Bullets and Tenax have, however, so far pulled their weight and fared well. The former top the standings on five points from three games, while the latter are tied on four points with Black Rhinos. Manica Diamonds anchor the mini-league on three points.
Former Warriors forward, Alois “Gazza” Bunjira — who traces his roots to the Eastern Highlands — hailed the return of the game and is looking forward to some exciting action, if the first round is anything to go.
“First and foremost, it is good to have football back. At least we can now watch and follow games despite no fans being allowed into the stadia yet.
“So far so good and it is a nice starting point for the anticipated eventual return of the Premiership. Going forward, there is room for improvement; especially on the television production side of things,” he said.
The ex-CAPS United hitman added that the Group Three pool at Sakubva is too tight to call since it is on a knife-edge.
“It is delicately balanced at the moment and no clear favourite has emerged. With the teams having had a feel of each other in the first round, there is all to play for in the return legs. It is quite interesting to note that Tenax and Cranborne Bullets have done well and put themselves in good positions to qualify to the next round.
“As it stands right now, very little separates the teams and they will all want to keep within shouting distance of each other. The group, therefore, remains unpredictable.
“But basing on what I have seen so far from watching some of the matches, I think Black Rhinos and Cranborne Bullets will progress,” said the 1996 soccer star of the year finalist.
The retired predatory marksman, who has turned into an authoritative pundit since hanging his boots, feels there is still some sluggishness about the teams.
He attributed this to the long layoff on the sidelines as the season was deferred for over a year owing to the outbreak of coronavirus.
Said Bunjira: “The level of intensity is a bit low on the field of play, but I guess that will come with fitness as the teams play more games.”
While glory will bring Tenax and Cranborne Bullets their first gulps from the Chibuku calabash, Manica Diamonds and Black Rhinos are hoping to fare better than they did the last time out.
Winners of the Chibuku Super Cup knockout tournament get to represent Zimbabwe on the continent in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Bulawayo giants, Highlanders are the title holders.
Group Three Match Day Four Fixtures:
Black Rhinos vs Tenax
Cranborne Bullets vs Manica Diamonds