FC Platinum through to Independence Trophy final but….

The match had to be stopped for about 16 minutes after Hwange walked off the pitch contesting Charles Sibanda’s 12th minute goal which they felt had been scored from an offside position.

The protests also led to Hwange coach Tennant Chilumba being sent off the pitch by Bulawayo referee Happy Mabhena.

Earlier Hwange had also protested against the game being played at Mandava instead of as earlier indicated the neutral Barbourfields Stadium. The complaints fell on deaf ears and FC Platinum took advantage of their familiar home turf as additional goals from Michael Katsvairo and Alan Gahadzikwa gave them their second cup final of the 2012 soccer programme.

Coincidentally, FC Platinum beat Hwange 2-0 to lift the Bob 88 Super Cup on 26 February.

Most of the fans returned home without watching the game after the organisers increased gate charges from the normal USD 3 entry fee for the cheapest seat in the stadium to USD 4.

The Independence Trophy is sponsored by the government to the tune of USD 50 000 and the Zimbabwe Football Association are using the gate takings to pay expenses related to the fulfilment of the fixtures.

Unfortunately, they are not getting it their way as only a handful of supporters turned up at Rufaro Stadium Wednesday to watch the semi final between Harare rivals Dynamos and Motor Action.

Analysts, however, have pointed out that the USD 50 000 on offer is very little for the four top teams in the country.

The final, set for the Zimbabwe Independence day of April 18, is free to the public and will this year feature FC Platinum and Motor Action’s Mighty Bulls.

Highlanders are the reigning champions but were not considered for this year’s edition as they did not finish in the top four in the Castle Lager league race