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Zim Saints bounce back

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YESTERYEAR giants Zimbabwe Saints are back on the local football scene after merging with Mpopoma-based juniors outfit Mpumelelo, who are sponsored by former Chikwata official Lloyd Munhanga.

BY SAKHELENI NXUMALO

While Munhanga refused to comment on the merger and referred all questions to the Saints leadership, a reliable source told our sister paper our Southern Eye that both parties would soon release official statements to announce this latest development in Chauya Chikwata’s comeback efforts.

“It is true that Mpumelelo and Zimbabwe Saints have merged and because Saints is the bigger brand, the Mpumelelo name will fall by the wayside.

“This will soon be communicated to the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and as a result Zimbabwe Saints will this year have a presence in the Bulawayo Province Junior League,” the source said.

He added that efforts are also underway to secure a slot in the Bulawayo Province Division Two, but Zifa Bulawayo Province boss Washington Chimhanda said they were yet to receive any official approach from Saints.

“They have not approached us and the official position is that they can apply to be accommodated in Division Three as all the slots in Division Two are occupied.

“As Bulawayo Province, we will be guided by the (Zifa Southern) region as Saints have to be cleared by them first considering that they were not relegated but were expelled,” Sithole said.

Chauya Chikwata were kicked out of Zifa Southern Region Division One at the beginning of the 2014 season after failing to meet their financial obligations, but Saints official Gibson Homela believes their expulsion was enough punishment.

“I believe that being fired means we have been punished because we did not play last season and spent the whole year in football wilderness,” Homela said.

The legendary former Saints and Warriors utility player said financial constraints were the major hindrance to their revival efforts and added that with money they can easily bounce back.
“I still think that we will play so do not write us off. There are ways to get into any division especially if the finances are there.
“The main challenge we face is financial. People do come when we call them for meetings to map the way forward, but when we start talking of finances they draw back,” Homela said.

The once mighty Zimbabwe Saints were champions in then Super League in 1988 and went on to represent the country in the African Cup of Club Champions in the following year and reached the quarter-final stage.

They were also losing semi-finalists in the CECAFA Club Championships in 1988.

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