Ziscosteel rule out snapping Ribbon franchise

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Central Soccer League side Ziscosteel Football Club have poured cold water on rumours that they are interested in buying the up-for-sale franchise of Premiership side Blue Ribbon.

Blue Ribbon are reportedly wallowing in a financial quagmire after sponsors Blue Ribbon Industries stopped bankrolling the club, prompting them to put their team up for sale.

Since the beginning of the year, speculation that former Premiership side Ziscosteel were planning to acquire the franchise went viral in the Midlands Province, filtering a ray of hope for top-flight football return in the small town of Redcliff.

It was also rumoured on social media that negotiations between Zisco and Blue Ribbon were at an advanced stage.

But club secretary Jawado Daudi yesterday moved in to quash the buzz saying they never registered any interest in the franchise.

“We have never been interested in the Blue Ribbon franchise and they also have never approached us pertaining to that issue. We want to get into the Premier League on our own merit without the hand of any other team. That is why we are trying to build a very competitive team which can win the Central Region League. We have already set our 2012 season budget which does not include buying Blue Ribbon,” said Daudi.

Powered by multinational Indian company Essar Global Limited which has masterminded the awakening of the sleeping iron and steel making giant Ziscosteel — now rebranded New Zimbabwe Steel — the Godfrey Tamirepi-coached outfit are expected to be one of the financially stable teams in the Central Region.

Ziscosteel, who have in their books former Lancashire Steel defender Gladmore Tembo, have been doing their business quietly in preparation for the 2012 season.

Daudi, however, did not rule out the club bidding for the franchise if it remains up for grabs at the end of this year’s season.

“Maybe we might consider buying the franchise for the 2013 season. And it would also depend on its price, if it is reasonable or whether the acquisition does not include players,” he said.

Blue Ribbon parted ways with head coach Misheck Chidzambwa at the end of last season after missing on a targeted top eight finish in their maiden season.
Their dire financial straits have seen them losing their senior players like striker Tineyi Chitora to Dynamos, Cabby Kamhapa who was snapped up by FC Platinum, Eria Phiri who joined Shabanie Mine, while Brighton Tuwaya has also left the club.