ZIMBABWE Pool Association (Zipa) public relations officer Donald Wadawu believes that the forthcoming National Champions League (NCL) pool contest now set to take place in Mutare on 11 and 12 March will provide a perfect opportunity for players to prepare for international engagements.
The NCL competition was initially scheduled to take place last weekend in Manicaland province. It was postponed to mid-March amid reports of a cyclone forecast to affect Mozambique and eastern parts of the country.
Zipa has been having constant discussions with the Meteorological Services Department which has been assessing both severity and direction of the cyclone.
“I can confirm that the new date for the National Champions League tournament has been tentatively set as 11 to 12 March when it is hoped that the cyclone would have fully subsided. The tournament will provide a big platform for the country’s players to showcase what they are made of. We believe the tournament will also give players and coaches from the country’s 10 provinces to fine-tune for international assignments. We are set to send a team that will compete in the APPA Games in South Africa.
Despite the fact that it has been postponed to another date, provincial teams need to take the forthcoming National Champions League competition seriously,” said Wadawu.
The competition is set to see Bulawayo province being represented by eight clubs, that include Bulawayo Elders, Queens Academy, Entumbane, Expendables, UBH, Nkulumane PC and Exchange.
Participation is mandatory for all clubs that finished in positions one to three in their respective provinces.
Clubs that will fail to take part in the event “for various reasons will have to pay a non-participation fee of US$20”.
Another penalty for non-participation will see a club being rendered ineligible to take part in their provincial league with regional executives expected to enforce the requirement.
Provinces who will have their teams take part should be members of Zipa and those whose memberships were revoked will not be eligible to participate and registration for the event is pegged at US$100.
The tournament winner is set to take home a prize money of US$1 300 while second place will pocket US$700. Third place will be awarded US$400 followed by US$200 in fourth place while numbers five to eight will get US$50 each.
There will be eight groups of clubs in the event and each set shall consist of three teams or more if the number of participants exceeds 24. A round-robin playing format will be applied and the two teams topping each group will proceed to the next round.
The national champions league event will come hard on the heels of a 16-team Bulawayo province champions league challenge that saw newly established Palace Pool Club emerge as winners.
Palace Pool Club got the better of Nkulumane PC in the final played at Queens Sports Club mid last month.
They emerged 13-7 victors. On their way to the final, Palace Pool Club beat Entumbane 13-6 in the semi-finals.