PREMIERSHIP football side Dongo Sawmill is facing a takeover bid from Northern Region Division One side Yadah Gunners, who are bankrolled and owned by Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries founder Walter Magaya.
BY WELLINGTON TONI
Dongo is owned by Rusape businessman Francis Dongo, who is feeling the pinch of sustaining the top-flight club.
Dongo, who play their home matches at Vhengere Stadium, are winless in nine matches, having drawn three times, lost six, scored six times and conceded 14 goals.
They have three points and anchor the Premier Soccer League standings.
Magaya took over the Division One side last year and believes the 2009 Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions belong to the top-flight league.
Gunners were previously owned by Cuthbert Chitima, who is now a senior member of the church and pulls the purse strings.
Informed sources close to the deal said a top Harare lawyer had completed the paper work, but the club needs special dispensation from the PSL to register 10 players when the mid-season transfer window opens on July 1.
“The deal has been agreed already, but they (Gunners) want to register 10 players instead of the usual five wanted by the PSL in July.
“That way, they can be guaranteed that they have their core team from Division One in the PSL and with the money they have, they can even buy some better players and survive relegation.
“Magaya will be club president, Chitima the general manager, while they will look to hire a professional manager to handle player affairs. They are serious about this and should the PSL agree to that, Dongo will be relocating to Harare in July,” a source said.
Another source said: “Taking over the club is not a problem. The issue is with modalities. They cannot register 10 players, they can only register five.
“They cannot change the name of the team to Yadah Gunners. It will remain Dongo Sawmill until the end of the season because the licence that is there was given to Dongo and cannot be changed mid-season as Club Licensing rules state that promotion is by sporting merit and not by any other form.
“That will inconvenience the league sponsors and their broadcast partners. So when they (Gunners) take over, they will take over the team as it is because if you look at it, the problem at Dongo is not players, but there is no money there,” an informed source told NewsDay Sport.
The club owner, Dongo, was not available for comment yesterday on his plans to shed off the team, but the PSL has been made aware of the decision via a notification sent on Monday, while the formal paperwork could be completed by the end of the week.
Chitima said he was aware the Dongo franchise was up for sale and was set to meet the club officials on Monday although the meeting did not materialise despite Dongo’s presence in Harare where he spent some time at the PSL headquarters in Eastlea.
“I am still to meet the officials, perhaps today (Monday) we had a scheduled meeting. So once we have agreed on the meeting, I will let you know,” Chitima said.