ITS exactly eight days after the regional club championship, CECAFA Kagame Cup climaxed in Dar es Salaam and football fans around the country brace for what promises to be another amazing spectacle of footballing splendor when the BancABC SUP8R Tournament gets underway on Sunday.
The newly- introduced pre-season tournament will compete top teams from Mainland Premier League, Simba, runners-up Azam FC, fourth-placed Mtibwa Sugar and newly promoted Polisi Morogoro. Mtibwa replaces Yanga who have pulled out of the tournament.
The quartet will be joined by three teams that held top position in Zanzibar's top flight, which are Jamhuri, Zima Moto and Super Falcon and the fourth team is Mtende Rangers, which was recently promoted to play in the Isles top division.
Addressing journalists during the official opening of the tournament on Thursday night, Boniface Wambura, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Information Officer, revealed that the championship will be staged in four different centres which are Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza and Zanzibar.
There will be four matches taking place simultaneously in all four centres tomorrow, with Premier League champions Simba taking on Jamhuri in Dar es Salaam, Zimamoto will lock horns with Mtende Rangers at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza. Mtibwa Sugar and Polisi Morogoro will square off at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium in Arusha, meanwhile, Super Falcon will play host to Azam in Zanzibar. All matches will kick-off at 4pm.
The tournament was initially scheduled to kick off today, but organizers announced yesterday the event has been pushed forward for one day. The grand finale of the two-weeklong tournament is expected to be held at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on August 18.
Speaking during the event BancABC Managing Director Boni Nyoni said that the Bank has decided to sponsor the tournament as a reward to its loyal customers as well as to answer the call by government for more corporate involvement in sports. He said the sponsorship for SUP8R Tournament 2012 is 880m/- which includes, preparation and organization costs, accommodation, transportation and prizes.
He revealed that winner of the tournament will take away 40m/-, the losing finalist will pocket in 20m/-, the semifinalists will get 15m/- each and four first round losers will earn 5m/-. The overall best player and top scorer will take home 2.5 and 2m/- respectively. Nyoni encouraged all Tanzanian football fans to turn out in large numbers and support their favourite teams.
He believes the tournament will offer an excellent opportunity for teams to prepare for the forthcoming premiership leagues and try out their new combinations using their newly acquired players and their existing squads. "It is also an opportunity for the newly promoted teams to prove to the other teams that they can withstand the pressure in the premier leagues," he added.
BancABC launched the 8-team football knock-out tournament, now known as SUP8R, in 2008 in Zimbabwe but due to overwhelming success of the sponsorship in the last 3 years, the bank decided to make the SUP8R an annual event. BancABC Group Chief Executive Officer Douglas Munatsi said their aim was to ensure that the success of the SUP8R football sponsorship is replicated in other markets which the bank operates in.
"The long term vision is to have the individual country champions compete against each other so that it becomes a regional tournament," he said.