The return of one of Zimbabwe’s oldest clubs, Zimbabwe Saints, could be scuppered by battles for control of the Bulawayo-based former Premier Soccer League side.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Reports have suggested that Zimbabwe Saints have already affiliated with the Zifa Southern Region Division One league to participate in this year’s edition, with board chairman Vincent Pamire confirming that position.
However, Columbus Makumbe, who claims to be the bona fide board chairman of the club professed ignorance of the developments.
His deputy Ebson Muguyo and Martin Mabvira also indicated they were in the dark.
Makumbe said he got it from the grapevine that a political heavyweight had acquired a franchise in Division One, but added that such a move was illegal and would definitely attract legal action.
“It is unfortunate. I have also heard the reports. As Zimbabwe Saints we have got the finances to run the club, but we have not been informed of what is happening. Maybe they are yet to inform us. Like I said, financially we are sound to play in Divison One, but we are not aware of their plan. I contacted my vice-chairman Muguyo and secreatary Mabvira and they said they were not aware,” Makumbe said.
He said if they were not involved they were going to take the legal route, but they were open to engage with an interested sponsor if everything is done above board.
“I understand there is a political heavyweight who has poured in money, but that would be illegal. It will go back to the courts if it is done behind our back. We are playing a watch-and-see-game. If we are not properly invited and informed we are going back to court,” Makumbe said.
Chikwata as they were popularly known, won the league title in 1988 and produced great players like the Mckop brothers Henry and Pernell, Gibson Homela, Ephraim Chawanda, Joseph Machingura, John Sibanda, Jimmy Phiri, Agent Sawu, Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda, Muzondiwa Mugadza, Melusi Nkiwane, among many others.
They were relegated from the top league in 2006 and remained in the wilderness for five years until a businessman bought Chitungwiza-based Eagles’ franchise in 2011.
They played one season in the Premiership and in 2016 they were kicked out of the Division One league for failing to pay affiliation fees and fulfilling fixtures.
Zifa Southern Region confirmed the club had settled its debts.
The Divsion One league was set to start on March 28, but was shelved owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.