TopSports Limited, organisers of the Zambezi Soccer Challenge, have said the move to forego a third-place match was by design on logistical grounds.
The firm’s operations manager Kelvin Moyo was reacting to observations made by some pundits such as former Sulom president Henry ‘Kaka’ Chibowa and visiting Zimbabwean outfit Caps United’s director Twine Phiri that it was an oversight for TopSports not to arrange a third-place match.
Said Chibowa: “This is a business venture and I thought TopSports should have known that one of the big guns between Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers would not make the finals as they were drawn against each other in the final qualifying match.
“So, the best thing would have been to arrange a third place in order to coax fans of the losing side to the final match. I think it was a missed opportunity because not many Bullets fans went to watch the final match.”
Phiri, who is also president of the Zimbabwe Premier League, concurred with Chibowa.
“Big Bullets have a very huge fan-base here and in any case one would have expected the organisers to arrange a third-place match to add to the excitement,” said Phiri.
But Moyo argued that they critically looked into the issue and purely on business grounds, they decided to forego the third-place match.
“We knew that some people would question our wisdom not to arrange a third-place match because it could have added to the excitement, in fact the Caps director [Phiri] suggested [on Saturday evening] that it was not too late and we could still make arrangements, but then logistically it could have been problematic on our part as it would have translated into extra expenses.
“However, we have taken heed of the issues raised and we’ll look into them as this was just the start. We are open to ideas on how we can improve the tournament in the future,” said Moyo.
He also said Saturday’s games grossed in the excess of K8 million (about $20 000).
“I do not have the actual final figure, but I hear it is in the excess of K8 million,” said Moyo.
Apart from Caps, three local teams—Mighty Wanderers, Big Bullets and Silver Strikers—took part in the two-day event.