An inscription on a tombstone at Greendale cemetery reads, “Here lies the once Great Motor Action Football Club who died on December 20 2013, due to lack of funds.”
That is the truth as the Mighty Bulls are dead, buried and forgotten with the same having happened to 2009 CAF Champions League quarter finalists Monomotapa, who suffered the same demise.
Former Premier Soccer League chief executive officer Chris Sambo pointed out the Mighty Bulls’ departure, saying individually-owned teams or those without corporate sponsors would find it difficult to survive in the country’s top-flight league.
Flame Lilly coach Nesbert Saruchera and Dongo Sawmill owner, Francis Dongo recently pointed out that the Premiership is not a bed of roses.
A look at the log standings before Week 10 fixtures seemed to agree with this notion. The top four teams — Triangle, Chicken Inn, Dynamos and How Mine — are corporate sponsored, while the bottom four — Tsholotsho Pirates, Whawha Prisons, Flame Lilly and Dongo Sawmills — do not have corporate financiers.
Buffaloes were fifth from the bottom and former coach Moses Chunga left the club saying it was difficult to motivate the players as there was no money at the club.
This is the current status of our football — that there is now a yawning gap between the clubs with money and those without. Performance is now based on who has sound financial backing.
The broader picture though points to a situation in which there would be few teams in the premiership in the future as fewer companies become involved in football. Individuals will no longer be able to run football teams, as is the case with Dongo Sawmill and Caps United.
There is already a worrying development in the Zifa Eastern Region Division One where invitations had to be extended to clubs which could afford to participate as the league did not have enough teams.
What is happening in the lower divisions will in the long run have an effect on the premiership as the less-competitive the Divisions One leagues become, the lower the standards of the top-flight league also become.
Our football is not moving forward as it has now become the norm that teams which are getting promoted are the same teams that are getting relegated at the end of the season.
There are some, however, who believe that, it might not be long before we come across another tombstone that reads, “Here lies the once Great Football Cup Kings of Zimbabwe, CAPS United.”
This is because Zimbabwean football has become the preserve of those with fat pockets.
Pasuwa’s chance to build
The Warriors today begin their Cosafa Senior Challenge journey against Mauritius. To some this is just another not-all-that-important competition as Fifa regards the tournament as a group of countries playing friendly matches.
But to those who follow Zimbabwean football and the financial problems it faces, this is the chance for coach Kalisto Pasuwa to identify the players he intends to use for the forthcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which begin on the weekend of June 12-14 with an away game to Malawi, before a tough home game against Guinea between September 4-6.
There is no guarantee that Pasuwa will be accorded friendly matches in between the Malawi game as it is not a secret that Zifa is broke.
So, the many games in the Cosafa Senior Challenge offers Pasuwa the best chance to decide which players he needs for the assignments ahead.
There is more for Pasuwa. There are still some doubting Thomases who do not believe that he is the right man for the Warriors job, despite what he did at Dynamos and what he has done so far with the Young Warriors.
He is still young and with four Zimbabwe championships under his belt. Pasuwa also led the Under 23 team to the Africa Championships in Congo Brazzaville.
The Cosafa Cup is coming at a time when most leagues are on break, which gives countries the opportunity to field their best teams available.
Zimbabweans are looking forward to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and a good run at the Cosafa Cup will raise spirits.
At least reaching the semi-finals of the Cosafa must help restore confidence among football fans. However, a fifth Cosafa Cup title would make the fans even happier.
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