WITH 11 rounds of matches left before the curtain to the league season comes down, it appears Shabanie Mine have given up hope of retaining their Premier Soccer League status as financial problems continue to cripple their operations.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
The Zvishavane-based side have struggled to get results this season, with just two wins to show for their efforts in the campaign so far, a performance that has been attributed to the precarious financial situation that they are in.
They have the same number of points as other relegation strugglers Bulawayo City and Mutare City, but the Chinda Boys sit bottom on the log standings due to an inferior goal difference.
Shabanie Mine have the worst defensive statistics this term, having conceded 47 goals.
On Wednesday, they were put to the sword by second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars with a 5-1 drubbing, a result that left youthful coach Alexio Sigion on the brink.
“I would very much want to remain in the premier league, but honestly, the situation at the team is suggesting otherwise. Perhaps it is just meant to be this way. The team is losing game after game and it seems everyone has lost hope because of the obvious reasons,” Sigion said.
Shabanie Mine’s financial troubles have been well documented this season, with reports suggesting that the players have gone for months without salaries and winning bonuses. They have been surviving on well-wishers who provide transport and food for players on match days.
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Travelling for away matches has been a hustle in recent weeks and it was by the grace of God that they managed to fulfil their match away at Ngezi Platinum.
The team secured transport at the last minute and only arrived at the match venue minutes before kick-off.
“Working under such conditions is hard and very demotivating. The players are dejected. I have been trying my best, but it has not been easy. The best is just to keep on working within our confines and see if we can achieve what is realistic to us,” he added.
On Sunday, they host a crowd puller Highlanders at Maglas Stadium, and while they will not be expecting much on the field of play from this one, they would be anticipating a better pay day from gate takings, money that could go a long way in sustaining their operations.