Midlands-Matabeleland Rugby League champions Gweru Sports Club (GSC)’s ambitions of being readmitted into the National Rugby League (NRL) have suffered a blow after the national league spurned the club’s bid.
After enjoying a good run of form last season, winning all its games, the resurgent club has been anxiously waiting to get the nod from the NRL for another flirtation with the country’s rugby elite league this year.
But due to the Midlands-Matabeleland league’s low status and poor publicity, the national league turned a blind eye to the club’s season heroics, leading to the snub.
This could also bring out some glaring discrepancies in the way clubs are promoted into the national league.
Although Gweru Sports Club displayed a flawless run all season, the NRL is still not convinced they have the pedigree to hold their own against elite league teams.
Ironically, NRL president Noddy Kanyangarara said they did not have records of how Gweru Sports Club played this season which is why the club will not be readmitted into the league.
He said promotion is based on a team showing high competency to avoid it being the premier league’s whipping boys.
“Gweru Sports Club will not be promoted into the national league next season. We never got any information on how they were playing this season.
“I even met the club’s secretary and made it clear to him that they will not be playing in the national league,” said Kanyangarara.
“I understand that sometimes they would play this week and not play the other, but we look at a team being consistent. We would like to avoid a situation whereby a team would be thumped 100-0 by others because that is not fit for good competition,” he said.
GSC secretary Kelvin Magunje conceded they will have to accept this grim reality and launch another bid this year.
“We were playing in the Midlands-Matabeleland League last season and were doing very well. Unfortunately we are not going to be promoted into the national league next season. They (NRL) say they do not know about how we were playing last season, so taking it from what they are saying, definitely there is no way we will rejoin the national league,” Magunje said.
“We will try to flaunt some good rugby this season to attract their attention so that they consider us for the 2012 season,” said Magunje.
Other factors could have also led to the club’s bid being snubbed. They have no home ground, prompting them to play all their matches in Bulawayo.
They also have no sponsor, thereby raising the possibility that they might fold during the the season.