The 2013 edition of the Mascom Top 8 Cup has been launched with slight adjustments made from the staging of the inaugural cup that was won by Township Rollers last year. The cup, publicised as 'Tse di Tona,' brings together the top eight teams in the previous Premier League season, who battle it out for the P1 million prize money. Top eight teams this season are Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Gaborone United, Township Rollers, BMC FC, BDF XI, ECCO City Greens, NICO United and Mogoditshane Fighters. A noticeable adjustment made in the organisation of the cup is that this year there will be no draw for the quarterfinals, but rather the top team will be paired with the corresponding team at the bottom of the top eight standing. This is the most popular format used in top eight competitions.
"Thus, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, who finished top of the log, will play Mogoditshane Fighters, who finished at spot number eight, and the pairing will continue in that order," explained Botswana Premier League (BPL) CEO, Bennet Mamelodi at the media launch held at the plush Lansmore Hotel yesterday morning. Mamelodi assured the audience, among them competing club representatives, Mascom CEO and the BFA President Tebogo Sebego that all games will be televised, though he did not reveal the details. The Premier League is currently negotiating a deal with Supersport to broadcast its remaining matches of the current season.
The first leg matches of the quarterfinals will be staged at the Molepolole Sports Complex as double headers on the weekend of February 23-24th. GU will clash with NICO in the first match on Saturday before a repeat of last year final between Rollers and ECCO. On Sunday, BMC plays BDF XI, paving way for Chiefs and Fighters later in the evening.The return legs of the quarterfinals will be played a fortnight later, still in Molepolole. Mamelodi said they chose Molepolole, as the venue was the most suitable for TV broadcast. A live public draw will be conducted for the semi finals, which will take place in April at venues to be decided. The final will be played on May 18 at a venue also to be decided.
Meanwhile, Mascom CEO Jose Viera Couceiro announced some adjustments to the prize monies offered to winners in different categories. While the winners' prize remains unchanged at P1 million, the runners up prize has been increased from P350, 000 to P400, 000. There will be a P 50, 000 increase for all the semi-finalists as each will get P 200, 000 while all teams eliminated at the quarterfinals stand to pocket P125, 000, an increase of P25, 000 from the previous edition. In addition, all individual prizes, among them media and officials' prizes will be doubled. Couceiro said they have enjoyed a good relationship with the BFA and the first edition of the Mascom Top 8 cup was a success. He said Mascom remains committed to redefining local football and they want to raise its standards. "We believe that the Mascom Top 8 has indeed become the pinnacle of Botswana football," he said.