|Event:||Logan Cup 2016/17|
DateLine: 18th December 2016
All is set for Zimbabwe’s 2016/17 domestic season, with treble champions Harare Metropolitan Eagles beginning the defence of their Logan Cup title with a tricky fixture away to Manicaland Mountaineers at Mutare Sports Club starting this Sunday.
Elsewhere, Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers will be hosting Midlands Rhinos in the other four-day match scheduled to start on the same day.
The country’s premier first-class competition was initially scheduled to start on 11 December, but logistical challenges forced Zimbabwe Cricket to postpone the matches to this weekend.
After an unprecedented season in which they clinched all the three top domestic competitions – Logan Cup, Pro50 Championship and Domestic T20 Competition – Eagles will be under immense pressure to maintain their dominance.
Eagles captain Tinotenda Mutombodzi admits it will be tougher this time round, but he is confident of leading another successful campaign.
“We have to work harder than we did last season,” Mutombodzi said.
“It’s easy to get to the top but very hard to maintain and as a team we are well aware of that. But at the end of the day we play this game to enjoy and everything else will take care of itself – that’s exactly the way we went about it last season and we will try not to change that.”
On the other hand, Mountaineers will be looking to get their Logan Cup campaign off to a winning start after finishing a disappointing third last season.
This time round, they are determined to lift the coveted silverware, according to their captain Tinotenda Mawoyo.
“I am extremely excited to have the honour to lead the Mountaineers again,” Mawoyo said.
“We have had a couple of trophy-less seasons but that’s something we are looking to address this season. We are blessed with a squad comprising both youth and experience and I have no doubt that this season will be a successful one.
“Although we are missing Vusi (Sibanda) and Shingi (Masakadza) this weekend, we are looking forward to the season opener at home and, if the rains stay away, I believe we can come away with a victory.”
In Bulawayo, another potentially riveting match is on the cards, with the opposing captains both looking to start their domestic campaigns on a winning note.
Tuskers skipper John Nyumbu will not take part in the season opener, but he is nonetheless confident his boys will lay down the marker for the rest of their campaign.
“Due to unfortunate circumstances, I will not be able to participate in this game but the team will be ably led by national team opening batsman, Brian Chari,” Nyumbu said.
“So, yes, everything is well set for tomorrow’s game against Rhinos, a very difficult side to play against, but we will take the bull by its horns and make sure that we come out with a positive result.
“This is the first game of our campaign for the Logan Cup. We have won it four seasons and we want to make sure this will be the fifth. We are well on track with our preparations and in ticking all the boxes in that regard.” Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer will be captaining Rhinos and he is excited about leading a youthful provincial side which he believes has what it takes to lift the Logan Cup.
“I am very excited for the season to be starting. I think our team has a very good chance this year,” Cremer said.
“We have a lot of young and upcoming stars in our team that are hungry to do well. And we have a good coach in Robin (Brown) who is leading the team in the right direction.”
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2016 Zimbabwe Cricket)