Breakthrough: Hippo Valley remains in the Premiership

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TONGAAT Hulett, owners of newly-promoted Castle Lager Premier Soccer League side Hippo Valley, have bowed to pressure from the community and have ceded the team to the Lowveld residents.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

The giant sugar-producing company disbanded the team last year, saying that they were not able to fund two Premiership teams as they also sponsor Triangle and it could also have contravened Fifa rules.

But unions representing Hippo Valley Estates workers had threatened to take industrial action to press for Tongaat Hulett to continue financing the team in top-flight football this year.

The plan was that if the company stood by its decision to disband the team, the workers and the community would take over the funding of the side.
However, all outstanding issues are expected to be finalised today in Chiredzi before Hippo Valley can be officially announced as 2014 Eastern Region PSL candidates.

They will also announce their new executive today in the presence of Eastern Region administrator Tedious Machawira.

Eastern Region chairman Fungai Chihuri confirmed the development yesterday to NewsDay Sport.

“They have agreed (Tongaat Hulett) with (Lowveld residents) (between themselves) to cede the team to the community. Everything will be finalised (tomorrow) today in Chiredzi, the only thing that has remained is that the community should appoint their new executive and this is going to be done tomorrow (today).

“Machawira (Zifa Eastern Region administrator) is going to Chiredzi to oversee all the activities. I think it was unfair that the players and coaches who worked very hard for the entire year could not enjoys their sweat in Premier League this year. I think the community deserve the franchise after all the support they gave to the team,” he added.

In an interview with this publication yesterday from his base in Chiredzi, Moses Chunga, who led the team into the top-flight, said it was never the community’s intention to fight the company.

“This is a positive development for both the community and the players. It was never the community’s intention to fight the company. For some of us, we came here to develop talent in Chiredzi and it was unfair that our dreams could have ended like that after what we had started,” he added.

Machawira said: “I’m going to oversee the meeting where the new executive is going to be chosen. We are not even aware how they are going to do it, maybe they are going to change the name of the team. They just said come and see how we are going to do it. But what I know is that the team has been ceded to the community,” he said.

Tongaat Hulett corporate affairs manager Adelaide Chikunguru did not respond to numerous calls on her mobile number yesterday when sought for comment. Hippo Valley will now join Chapungu (Central Region), Plumtree Chiefs (Southern Region) and ZPC Kariba (Northern Region) in the Premiership.

Once all formalities are completed, PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele will conduct an induction course for the quartet.

13 COMMENTS

  1. does this community know what it entails to sustain a top flight team.the way it is tongaat know what they are doing, this is an expensive venture and considering the current state of the economy certainly one premier league team could do for Chiredzi.

  2. This team was not nominated they qualified,i dont see why people talk of bhora reckuchikoro,these people supported the team week in week out,who does not wanna see Highlanders,Dynamos and Caps in small towns?
    Lets support good things kwete kungoshora..ofcourse its not easy for our soccer in terms of mari kuZim but Hippo did well and it was so unfair if the company had not reversed their move…All the best Hippo and Chunga in 2014 PSL season

  3. Surely this is a good decision. Yes its difficult to run that club but why then did the company wasted resources in the first place if they knew they were not going to sponsor the team. They hired a professional coach, acquired new players, travelled to far places, won the title and only to be told the team cannot proceed to the promised land. It was hard to understand the logic here.

  4. Hapana chinomborema kana chimwe chaicho ku manager team iyoyi for the Chiredzi residents. Such shallow and discouraging comments must be coming from the Harare residents who think Zimbabwe is Harare only. The residents have been supporting this team eversince but through the Tongaat Hulett management only. Now with the removal of the brainless Tongaat Hulett management, it must be much easier for the business of the team being run by a board which is specially formed for football matters only. Pamberi neChiredzi town. Very independent and confident are you. If the team goes for five unbeaten games and Tongaat Hulett AGREES IN BLACK AND WHITE THAT it has parted ways with the team, this team will be sponsored by a very big company; mark my words. Pasi nezvi Black Mumbers nezvi Zim Saints zvinoda kungogara mu league zvichingopa Dynamos ma points aisingakodzeri. We would like to have strong challengers to the current Dynamos of social soccer players. Pamberi naChunga; pamberi nechipo chake chaakapiwa naMusiki. Chinja usavi mu Zimbabwe sadza rinake.

  5. Surely those who are saying Chiredzi residents vane dzungu clearly shows kuti ndimi mune dzungu number 1. Do you know what it takes to take a team to premiership before you talk of sustaining it there. For all those years, it was the goal of every youngster in that team to play in the premiership and all of a sudden such a dream is disbanded. Remember the residents did not register a team in the first place but the company did. There is more into this issue than people think. How can you account for all those wasted years these youngsters were fighting to get such a breakthrough and someone takes it to the trash can just like that. Look at the people who were employed there other than the players. Who said there are no companies who are prepared to sponsor the team? Who said these residents does not have the capacity to sponsor themselves. As we speak, Dynamos does not have a sponsor worse still for champions league. So should it be disbanded?

  6. Thoz who say Chiredzi residents vane dzungu are the ones who are misguided,thoughtless and narrowminded. For your own info,Hippo is made up of Estates owned by individual cane farmers who make millions out of the cane they sell to Tongaat. So basically speaking they are the ones whose money ws sustaining the team. All the best to Hippo Valley and Bambo the visionary.

  7. This is good for zim football after all hippo valley is a community on its own different from Triangle or Chiredzi..They worked hard for it and they derseve it .Infact it helps us to see talent from all corners of the country kwete kungoti Harare ne Bulawayo chete..I am also happy now that there is a club from Plumtree and Kariba we would also want to see clubs from Nyamapanda,Vic falls Gokwe etc

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