THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is set to fully bankroll a Zifa Bulawayo Division Two League side as the local authority eyes playing in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in the next two years.
According to the latest council minutes town clerk Middleton Nyoni received an application for the City Fathers to sponsor a team they would name Bulawayo City Football Club which presently is competing in the Division Two League as BCC Golden Stars.
“This is a football club that started as a social club for security guards based at Luveve Parade Base. The club had all along depended on contributions by its members. It was last year promoted to the Zifa Bulawayo Province Division Two,” reads part of the minutes.
“This league was more involving than the lower leagues and the members have decided that they approach council for full sponsorship. The sponsorship would relate to annual registration, travel and subsistence, kitting and payment of allowance, among other costs related to running a club,” the minutes added.
They further stated that Nyoni had advised the members of the football club that council was likely to sponsor a team that was representative of the corporate body as opposed to the team’s current departmental outlook.
“He had further advised them that should council accede to their request, it might transform the club such that they lost its control. They had indicated that they appreciate all this. Harare and Mutare City Councils sponsored teams in the PSL and Division One League, respectively. This increased the city’s visibility in the community and the nation as a whole,” the minutes read.
Harare City, which finished second in the PSL last season, is the only council-sponsored team in the top flight league at the moment. This year the Sunshine Boys have indicated they want a budget allocation of $1,6 million.
BCC has already drawn up a constitution for the team.
Soccer analysts and legends Ndumiso Gumede and Cosmas Zulu said it was a good idea for the city to have a football club as it would help in the development of the sport.
“If they are starting this (football club) as an academy, it is recommended. Bulawayo City Council used to run a number of youth clubs where children played sport. Some of us came from that set up. I used to play different sporting disciplines at Inyathi Youth Centre,” the former Zifa vice-president Gumede said.
He said the only hurdle that the team would face might be support in Bulawayo.
“Most people support teams, they do not support football. That is why you will find that How Mine would play in a stadium that had less than 500 people. People support Highlanders and Dynamos and only those that support football would be present at stadia no matter which team is playing,” he said.
Gumede said if the main aim was football development “then they can bring me out of retirement”.
Zulu said: “It is a good idea that they are creating employment for the youth. It will also increase the number of football teams in the Premier League and thereby reduce travelling costs for the teams.”
He said it would also be a good idea for each city to have a team that identifies with them like they have in the European leagues.
In the council meeting it was resolved that the “the request by the Bulawayo City Football Club for full sponsorship be accepted in principle, subject to agreement on the reconstitution of the team or club outlook”.