NKANA has been pitted against Green Buffaloes in the top of the bill K2 million-rich Barclays Cup competition that kicks-off on Saturday.
During the draws made at Football House yesterday, Nchanga Rangers will battle with league champions Zanaco, while three-time winners, Zesco United have a seemingly easy tie against Division One South side, Green Eagles as Red Arrows lock horns with lower division side, National Assembly.
Saturday’s matches will see Arrows and Assembly fighting for honours in a double-header in this competition where the winner is set to pocket K200,000 and the runner-up will get K100, 000.
The first match gets underway at 12:45 hours with Rangers battling it out against Zanaco at 15:15 hours in matches to be beamed live on SuperSport Select channel.
On Sunday, Nkana will get the ball rolling with Buffaloes in an early kick-off at 12:45 hours to be followed by the Zesco versus Eagles match that would kick-off at 15:15 hours and will also be beamed live on SuperSport and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).
Draws for the semi final matches to be played on October 26 on the Copperbelt will be drawn later, while the final will be played on November 23 in Lusaka.
Napsa Stars, who won the 2012 edition after beating Power Dynamos 4-2 on post match penalties in a thrilling 4-4 draw after 120 minutes, become the first team to fail to defend the title after finishing outside the top six bracket on the log as at Week 15, same as Power.
Zesco have won the competition three times followed by Power, who have won it twice and Napsa once.
Barclays Bank Zambia managing director, Saviour Chibiya said that his bank has pumped in K2 million, with the winners expected to pocket K200, 000 and the runners-up going away with K100,00 with the coach and player-of the-tournament getting K10, 000 and K5, 000, respectively.
Chibiya said his bank remained committed towards sponsoring the only remaining cup competition in the country because it believes the Barclays Cup offers a good platform for the players to showcase their skills from which team members for the national team can be picked.
He cited examples of the likes of Mukuka Mulenga, among many that have, after playing in the Barclays Cup, gone on to win international honours for the country as evidenced by Zambia’s triumph during the regional COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup on July 20.
“We are aware of the fact that this competition will provide an opportunity for the national team coach to pick players ahead of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers because there is pressure playing at the highest level and what a better way of getting started than playing in this competition,” Chibiya said.
MultiChoice Zambia public relations manager, Marlon Kananda said all the games would be beamed live on SuperSport and Gotv adding that his company was committed towards playing a role in the development of sports in the country.
ZNBC director of finance Victor Nyasulu, representing Director General, Chibamba Kanyama, said the national broadcaster was proud to be associated with the live broadcast of the Barclays Cup competition.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) head of competitions and administration Julio Chiluba said quarter and semi-final matches would straight into penalties should there be a tie after 90 minutes but there will be provision for extra time before going into penalties in the final should scores remain deadlocked.
Meanwhile, Barclays Bank in partnership with FAZ , in a bid to enhance this year’s competition, has pledged to provide training in financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills to over 500 soccer playing youths with the support of Junior Achievement Zambia’s ‘Its Tyme Programme’.
Chibiya said the bank would spend K45,000 on the programme that would be coordinated by Junior Achievement Zambia that targets footballbers between ages of 18-35.
Junior Achievement Zambia representative Ireen Musonda said the programme will see players establish themselves in businesses that can sustain them after their playing careers were over.