The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
THE restructured Townshend and Butcher Trophy kicks off this morning with the round of 16 matches that will see teams from various leagues under the Zifa Southern Region Area Zones squaring off.
A draw conducted on Wednesday at Townshend and Butcher Sports Shop saw 16 teams from the Bulawayo Amateur Football Association, Bulawayo Christian League, Ntabazinduna Amateur Football Association and Wolanani Football League being paired for the first round.
The draw saw holders, Safeguard being drawn against fellow Bafa side, Lobels in the first match that will be played at Barbourfields Stadium outside grounds. Bafa log leaders, Rebels are pitted against Anolle Castings while Mat High City squaring off against last year’s finalists, NGA Chronicle with Mpilo United batting Unity Village for a place in the quarter-finals.
Christian League’s Victory Fellowship takes on Wolanani’s Lochard, Hilltop, from Ntafa, are up against Bafa’s United FC, with another team from Bafa, Joker paired with Willowgate from Ntafa. Sondelani, which plies in the Wolanani League, will have to contend with Christian League’s Flying Stars in the first round.
The draw was conducted by Zifa Bulawayo acting chairman, Allan Mpofu together with Townshend and Butcher proprietor Peter Leondios and Area Zones chairman Charles Chunda in the presence of club representatives.
Leondios said he was looking forward to an exciting tournament following the roping in of teams from other leagues as the trophy had previously been a battle between Bafa teams only.
“We acceded to the request for the new structure as we believe involving teams from other leagues will add excitement and flair and also spread the name of the tournament. Having teams from Mbembesi and Ntabazinduna is also a game changer for the tourney as there is a chance of the trophy being taken there. We will continue working with Bafa and the Area Zones as we strengthen our relationship and bring more joy in football,” he said.
Chunda urged all teams to put their best performances as this is the only knock-out trophy, they will battle for this season.
“We are grateful to Leondios for allowing us to change the structure and we would like to encourage all teams to give it their all and showcase their best football. Prizes are still the same with clubs walking away with kits,” he said.