Shabanie targets PSL franchise

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RELEGATED Shabanie Mine Football Club look set to use their financial muscle as they target an instant return to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) by purchasing a topflight franchise.

MUKUDZEI CHINGWERE
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

The Chinda Boys relinquished their PSL status in the just-ended 2014 Castle Lager season finishing in the bottom four. The asbestos miners enjoy a huge following among local football supporters which is estimated to be bettered only by Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United.

Their demotion from the top-flight seems to have roused an urgent response from business people in the mining town of Zvishavane who are said to be prepared to fund the proposed purchase of a franchise.

However, Shabanie Mine secretary Pithias Shoko denied claims that they wanted to buy their return to the PSL though he hinted on the move.

“It is mere speculation, we are not preparing to buy any franchise. We are actually preparing for life in Division 1 next season.

“We are targeting a quick return to the Premier (Soccer) League so we are already building a team that can win the championship in Division 1,” Shoko said.

“We have not heard of any club that is selling its franchise, but if anything comes up we will obviously meet as an executive.

“The executive will then deliberate if we can go for it,” he said.

Whawha Football Club which recently won promotion from the Central Region is likely to be the team to sell its top-flight status.

The Gweru-based side is owned by Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services who are funders of Flame Lilly who were also promoted from the Northern Region, and concerns have been raised if they can fund two teams in the country’s elite league.

The two parties from Whawha and Shabanie are rumoured to be holding closed-door meetings over the possibilities of swopping their franchises, with the miners topping up with cash for the deal to fruition.