ZIMBABWE Saints have been expelled from the Zifa Southern Region Division One League after going for four matches without kicking a ball due to failure to pay affiliation fees.
Zimbabwe Saints, founded in 1931 and having last won the top-flight league in 1988 under coach Roy Barreto, have finally been kicked out of Division One after weeks of speculation and talks on their survival as an entity in Zimbabwe football.
An impeccable source yesterday told Southern Eye Sport that Saints, together with Hwange-based Kabwe Warriors, were by yesterday due to be handed the letters of expulsion from the league.
“Zimbabwe Saints and Kabwe Warriors are out of the league. As we speak, they are due to receive their letters today (yesterday). This resolution was made at a board meeting on Friday, where it was decided that enough was enough,” the source said.
Another source also confirmed the decision during the burial of club legend Max “Shaluza” Tshuma at West Park Cemetery yesterday.
Saints owe Zifa in excess of $5 000 including this year’s $2 500 affiliation fees and match fees dating back to last year.
Their only option now, if they still wish to return to football and resources permitting, would be to get their act together and start afresh from the lowest league (Division Three) next year.
Efforts to get an official comment from Zifa Southern Region chairman Musa Mandaza yesterday were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Club organising secretary Jabulani Chinyangarara referred questions to chairman Gibson Homela, who admitted the club was in financial dire straits, but said Zifa had given them up to yesterday, to come up with something or risk expulsion.
“I have gone around looking for money and have approached some of the directors and the truth is the people have been honest to say they have no monies. Someone was promising to look after our account, but I cannot disclose the name. I am going to see them right now. As far as I am concerned I have not been given any letter by Zifa. The deadline exists up to today (yesterday) and Zifa were flexible on us making part payments of maybe $1 500,” Homela said.
Chinyangarara sits on the Zifa Southern Region Board.
Zimbabwe Saints have not played four matches against Tsholotsho FC, Mpumalanga, Black Boots and Portland Cement since the start of the league this year.
Chikwata was demoted from the top league in 2006 and went on to acquire the Eagles franchise in 2011 with businessman Felix Dzumbunu as the benefactor. The deal was facilitated by former Under-20 Young Warriors manager Eddie Chivero.
They were, however, relegated back to Division One in 2012 where they were again demoted to Division Two, but negotiated their way back through a Railstars’ franchise.