Former Premiership football side Railstars has disbanded.
This follows the withdrawal of funding for the club by its sole sponsors, the financially-stricken National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).
In a statement to NewsDay Sport yesterday, NRZ public relations manager Fanuel Masikati said the struggling parastatal was withdrawing sponsorship from the football club and concentrating on the rail transporter’s core business.
“The National Railways of Zimbabwe has withdrawn sponsorship of the Railstars Football Club in the 2012 soccer season. This decision has come against a backdrop of economic challenges where the organisation has resolved to concentrate on core business of providing freight and passenger services which are key to the recovery and sustenance of the national economy. This has seen the organisation weaning off-none core business activities including Railstars Football Club,” Masikati said.
Masikati, however, said the Railstars FC management committee had engaged Zifa in an attempt to source alternative outside funding for the club as they were still holding on to the franchise.
“The Football Club has played a key role over the years of providing sporting entertainment to the NRZ community and the external publics. Above all, the club has helped fly the NRZ flag over the past years, although, because of circumstances beyond NRZ’s control have now decided to shed off non-cobusiness activities and focus on cobusiness of running trains. The management committee has engaged Zifa regarding this new development as efforts of sourcing alternative external sponsorship are being pursued. The team, which in the past has also actively participated in the Premier League, has been a force to reckon with and NRZ will forever cherish and remember the good days which bring happy memories and where the organisation’s flag was hoisted, as well as promoting the NRZ image,” Masikati said.
He said the company would review its position in future when the country’s economic situation improves.
Sources yesterday told this publication that the NRZ met with contracted players on Wednesday who had been told to come forward and get clearances to join other clubs and move on.
Masikati confirmed the meeting yesterday and said everything was in order regarding the players.
Railstars were last in the Premiership in 2006 and they have been one of the most competent clubs in the Zifa Southern Region Division One League.
Last year, they lost head coach Mandla Mpofu to Chicken Inn.