Crowd-pullers Big Bullets have said they are banking on their fans to vote for them in the K20 million (about $80 000) Standard Bank Knockout Cup.
Bullets were again not among the top six teams in the TNM Super League last season and their participation will have to be determined by Standard Bank customers who started voting for the four preliminary teams last week.
The clubâ€™s general secretary Higger Mkandawire expressed optimism that their big fan base gives them an edge compared to other teams.
â€œWe are appealing to our supporters to go to their nearest Standard Bank agencies and vote for their teamâ€™s participation.
â€œFor those that do not have accounts with the bank, we urge them to open accounts now not only for the clubâ€™s cause but as one way of developing the game,â€ said Mkandawire.
The Bullets spokesperson also boasted that a competition without the Peopleâ€™s Team would be incomplete; hence, he expects even rival team supporters to vote for them.
â€œA competition without BB is deficient. So, we expect supporters of other teams, including nyerere [Mighty Wanderers] to rally behind us in the cause,â€ said Mkandawire.
The seven teams that earned automatic participation are defending champions Blue Eagles, Silver Strikers, Mighty Wanderers, Civo United, Moyale and Epac.Â
FAM and the sponsorsÂ agreed a new format where six top teams from the 2011/12 Super League standings and the defending champions will automatically qualify to the quarter-finals which will be played on home-and-away basis.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said: â€œThis entails that only one team from the four teams that the bankâ€™s customers will vote for, will make it to the quarter-finals. The two winners from the preliminary round will battle it out and the winner will proceed to the quarter-finals. Last year, two teams from the voted four made it to the quarter-finals.â€
The voting process will go on up to the end of the month.
Standard Bank has hiked the sponsorship package for its knockout cup to K20 million from K15 million that will see the winning team cashing a K7 million cheque.