CHAMPIONS 'Powerhouse' Lusaka have been handed a relatively easy draw as the MTN-Diggers rugby tournament gets underway in Kitwe today with K7, 000 up for grabs for the winners.
Lusaka go into this competition eyeing to grab their second title having already bagged the Nchanga 10's title which was the first cup competition on the Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) calendar.
MTN Zambia has pumped in K50, 000 into this year's competition that will see the runners-up pocketing K4, 000 while the Plate winners will get K1,500 and there is a special prize from the sponsors for the man-of-the-match award.
Lusaka, who beat hosts Diggers in last year's final, are in Group D along with Chibuluma, 'Killer Bee's' Ndola Wanderers and Nchanga. The midlands side is favoured to qualify from this group along with Chibuluma though Ndola and Nchanga should not be underrated.
Diggers are in a seemingly tough group that has Green Buffaloes, Kitwe Playing Fields (KPF) and Chambishi with odds favouring the hosts to win the Group B and sail through to the next stage. Buffaloes should also qualify but must fend off competition from the likes of KPF and Chambishi.
League champions Red Arrows are in Group A with unpredictable Nkwazi, Mufulira and Konkola. The airmen who are also pre-tournament favourites should easily sail through from the group with the battle for second place to be fought among Nkwazi, Mufulira and Konkola.
Group C is a difficult to predict as it has Green Eagles, Roan and Diggers B and any of the three can qualify.
The top two sides will advance to the next round while the third and fourth placed finishers will drop to compete in the Plate final.
Meanwhile, Diggers coach Robertson 'Plough' Kangongwe has urged his players to wrestle the title away from Lusaka.
Diggers had a disappointing season last year winning only two cup competitions but have had a good start in the league this year winning their opening two matches.
But Kangongwe wants the team to start winning cup competition starting with the MTN Diggers cup which they lost to Lusaka in the final last season.
"We have been playing well this season and I feel the players have what it takes to win this tournament especially that we are playing at home. We are playing at home so we have good chances of winning the league," he said.