Controversy Rocks Independence Trophy With The Inclusion Of Highlanders

HARARE – This year’s edition of the Independence Trophy has been rocked by controversy, following the inclusion of Highlanders as a last minute replacement for Monomotapa instead of Lengthens.\r\n

The Uhuru Trophy is normally played between the top four Premier Soccer League teams, which should have seen Monomotapa, Dynamos, Njube Sundowns and Shooting Stars battling for the trophy.

Monomotapa will however be involved in an African Champions League encounter against ASEC Mimosa on in Cote d’Ivoire on the weekend of April 17-19 Monomotapa’s replacement.

However, ZIFA have decided to include Highlanders who finished in seventh place and do not qualify to be included in the Independence Trophy, instead of Lengthens, which finished in the fifth place.

This is not the first time that the Uhuru Trophy has been rocked by problems. In 2005, Motor Action was excluded from the tournament despite being the Independence Trophy defending champions.

The Independence Trophy has over the years been manipulated to include the country’s top followed teams, especially Highlanders and Dynamos.

Asked to comment on the latest decision to include Highlanders, the ZIFA chief executive officer said the Trophy was “invitational”.

“We want the Independence Trophy to have a national outlook,” Rushwaya said.

Highlanders will clash with Njube Sundowns in the semi finals at Barbourfields Stadium, while Dynamos will play Shooting Stars. The semi finals will be played on April 14.

The finals have been set for April 18 – the day when Zimbabwe attained its Independence.

Shooting Stars won the Independence Trophy when they beat Highlanders 0- 1 last year. Dynamos overcame Masvingo United 1-0 in the third and fourth play-off.