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Chauya Chikwata bounces back through the back door

by Staff reporter
15 Mar 2020 at 08:55hrs | Views
FORMER Premiership championship winners and one of the oldest football clubs in the country, Zimbabwe Saints are set to bounce back into top echelons of the game after registering to play in the Zifa Southern Region Division One League this season.

After stuttering on several occasions in their bid to make a comeback to the footballing world, Saints are finally set to fight for a place to return to the crème de la crème of local football. Southern Region chairman, Andrew Tapela confirmed the club has paid affiliation fees for this season and their previous debts after they invited the side to fill in one of the three vacant slots.

The league last year had 15 teams, after Nengasha failed to pay affiliation fees, but had resolved to start this year with 18 teams hence the three slots that needed to be filled.

"It is a long-standing resolution that we should have 18 teams but last year we failed to meet that number as we had 15 teams following the withdrawal of Nengasha. This year we decided to implement that resolution and we have invited interested teams to fill in the vacant slots. We recalled Arenel who had been relegated and they are back and also extended an invitation to Zimbabwe Saints, who took up the offer after meeting our criteria. They (Saints) have already paid the affiliation fees and what they previously owed us," he said.

Tapela said they are still sifting through other potential clubs to fill in the remaining slot. He said other clubs that fail to meet their obligations will also be replaced as there are other teams that are eager to play in Division One and are ready to meet the rigorous demands.

Chauya Chikwata were kicked out of Zifa Southern Region Division One at the beginning of the 2014 season after they failed to meet their obligations. Saints' board chairman, Vincent Pamire said they are back for good.

"We always said we will be back and this time it is for good. We were one of the first clubs to pay our full financial obligations, an indication that we are ready to play. We have learnt our lessons from the previous mistakes that we made and now we are ready to do things in proper fashion. We would like to urge everyone who has the interest of the game to back us," he said.

Pamire said they have managed to secure the support of several entities and persons to bankroll the running of the club and they believe more people will come on board once they see they are serious with reviving the club that once drew huge crowds and produced soccer stars that include Ephraim Chawanda and Agent Sawu.

He said they would be finalising their technical team and squad ahead of the season to ensure it competes for the championship and make the leap to the Castle Lager Premiership.

"Most people did not believe we are coming back but now that we are registered no one can doubt that when they join Saints, they will be playing football this season, so we will be scouting for quality players and technical personnel that will lead to the Premiership," he said.

The league is set to start on 28 March. Meanwhile, only five teams have met the 13 March deadline to pay affiliation fees with Arenel, Saints, ZPC Hwange, Talen Vision and Casmyn having forked out the dues in full while Victoria Falls-based Mosi Rovers, Makomo, Hwange, Emakhandeni Pirates, Trumus, Quality Foods and Mainline have paid part of the fees and Indlovu Iyanyathela, Ngagula, Highlanders' developmental side, Bosso90 and Ajax Hotspurs are still to make any commitment.

Source - sundaymail

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