AS Hippo Valley FC and Chiredzi FC continue to haggle over a franchise, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) has adopted a wait-and-see approach, but wants the process to be completed as soon as possible.
BY HENRY MHARA
Hippo Valley won promotion into the Premiership last season, but their celebrations were short-lived after their sponsor Tongaat Hullet, who also sponsor Triangle FC, said they would not be able to sponsor two teams in the top-flight league.
Reports last week suggested that Hippo Valley had given up the franchise to Chiredzi FC and a meeting between the latter and Zifa was held.
It is believed that Zifa had given the green light for Chiredzi FC, a team owned by the Chiredzi community, to use the franchise.
However, events took another twist on Monday when Hippo Valley chairman Tarisai Mudambanuki came out publicly to say that they had not given up the franchise, with the hope that their sponsor would rescind their earlier decision.
PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said they wanted the process to speed up so that his office could start preparations for the upcoming season on Monday.
The league is expected to kick-off in March.
“We should be starting preparations for the new season now. There are some documents that we need to send out to all the participating teams and we intend to do that before Monday next week.
“There are a whole lot of processes involved, including inspection of stadiums that needs to be done. So the earlier we are given the name the better. We are waiting for Zifa to give us a name so that we can begin the process,” Ndebele said yesterday.
No comment could be obtained from Zifa as both the CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze and communications manager Xolisani Gwesela, who is also in South Africa for the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals promised to come back to this paper with a response.
Zifa competitions manager Mabhande Mabhande was also unreachable.
Besides Hippo Valley, the other teams that were promoted into the league are ZPC Kariba, Plumtree Chiefs and Chapungu.
Meanwhile, relegated Monomotapa believe that if Chiredzi FC succeeds in acquiring the Hippo Valley franchise, they would not last in the league.
They think relying on the community for funding is not enough.
Monoz claim that they spent at least $600 000 last season, which they think Chiredzi FC will not be able to raise.
“A budget for a modest club like Monoz in the PSL was $450 000 in 2011, $500 000 and ballooned to $600 000 in 2013.
“Will the Chiredzi community be able to raise this kind of money? Dynamos, with their so-called seven million supporters, have raised less than $500 on their Ecocash platform. It’s tough out there. No jobs, no cash. Every individual and company is in survival mode except for a few,” Monoz treasurer Febber Mapiringanwa said.
“I don’t know what kind of businesses there are in Chiredzi except sugar plantations.
Tripple B, Motor Action, Monomotapa UFC, Hardbody were all relegated to lower leagues because of their unhealthy financial situations,” he said.
“There might be great joy in Chiredzi today, but that’s emotional and what I know is that emotions don’t pay bills. Are we going to see another rich neighbour versus poor neighbour like the FC Platinum-Shabanie Mine situation? So from experience, Chiredzi FC will not survive for two seasons in the league.”