Zim Saints back in the Premiership


Zimbabwe Saints are back in the Premier Soccer League.
Saints acquired the franchise of Masvingo-based FC Victoria for an undisclosed fee and have already applied for a name change and relocation to Bulawayo.
FC Victoria had put up their franchise for sale at $200 000, although sources say Saints paid a much lower figure.
The PSL general assembly, chaired by Twine Phiri and his deputy Themba Ndlela using Article 29 Section 1 and 2, approved both issues when they met on Saturday. The clause allows for a name change and relocation and the issue to be tabled before a full general meeting for approval.
Saints chairman Daniel Muchena confirmed the news yesterday and the 1988 league champions are expecting to play their first game against Shabanie Mine at Barbourfields Stadium this weekend.
This will bring to three the number of teams in Bulawayo: Highlanders, Bantu Rovers—who bought the franchise of Eastern Lions last year, and Saints.
“Yes, that is the deal we are working on,” said Muchena.
“We are negotiating with FC Victoria and we should be concluding everything today (yesterday).”
“I am not at liberty to reveal the figures as this is something between us and FC Victoria.
“I am travelling to Masvingo tomorrow (today) to meet up with the players and the technical team to see how best we can come up with a strong team and we should be able to play our first game against Shabanie Mine this weekend.”
He said he was optimistic about the future of the club.
“I am very optimistic and excited about this development. I had promised the team’s supporters when I was elected this year that I will bring Saints to the premiership and it has happened,” he said. He inherits a team that is in 11th place, has lost its coach Saul Chaminuka and players who are disgruntled over lack of bonuses and salaries.
Saints have been playing in the Southern Region Division One and were pipped to the championship last season by Quelaton. Last week, in a bid to keep up their campaign, they appointed Anderson Phiri to take over as head coach.
A number of FC Victoria players could relocate to Bulawayo. Saints have produced a number of Warriors players from Agent Sawu, John Sibanda, Henry McKop and Ephraim Chawanda to Ronald “Gidiza”Sibanda, Muzondiwa Mugadza and even nurtured Mamelodi Sundowns linkman Esrom Nyandoro at junior level.