Simba Bhora strengthen squad

The Shamva-based side had a decent debut season in the top flight, finishing eighth on the log standings.

PREMIER Soccer League side Simba Bhora are plotting a major overhaul of their squad as they target to win the Premier League title next season.

The Shamva-based side had a decent debut season in the top flight, finishing eighth on the log standings.

The ambitious team will be going for broke in their second season in the league, with club director Simba "Buju" Ndoro yesterday revealing that they are hoping to make significant changes to their squad.

He said they want to strengthen the squad by adding as many as 10 "top quality" players to their squad, most of whom will "shock a lot of people".

Already, they have snapped up Triangle striker Wilson Mensa who scored seven goals for the relegated Lowveld side last season, and Harrison Masina who won the Eastern Region Division One Soccer Star of the Year and Golden Boot awards. He scored 19 goals for Hunters FC.

Reports yesterday suggested that the Tonderai Ndiraya-coached side was closing in on former Soccer Star of the Year and Warriors star, Walter Musona. Former Warriors goalkeeper Talbert Shumba has reportedly signed a pre-contract with the club, so is Bulawayo Chiefs' pacey forward Billy Veremu.

"We are negotiating with a number of players, and as soon as we are done, we will announce. What I can say, though, is that we will shock a lot of people. People are going to be surprised by the calibre of the players that we will be unveiling," Buju said, without giving away much detail.

"We are targeting about 10 top quality players because we want to fight for the league. We want to win the league next year, that is our main target. We don't want to just make up the numbers in the league. We want to compete with the other teams for the title. If a team like Ngezi could do it, what can stop us."

The mining tycoon, however, refuted suggested links to Musona after the club yesterday posted on their social media pages a cheeky "happy birthday message" for the midfielder who turned 28 yesterday.

Many construed the message to mean the club had managed to lure the hugely talented FC Platinum player to Shamva. Musona's contract with the Zvishavane-based side ends on December 31.

"Walter is a national team player, and he scored a very beautiful goal for the Warriors just recently... and today it’s his birthday, isn't it? As Simba Bhora we just saw it proper to wish him well on his big day, that's it. There is nothing much really to decode from that message. It was a straight and simple happy birthday message to our national team hero."

Buju said their plan was also to retain all their best players from last season. Striker Tymon Machope, who was the biggest revelation for the club last term after joining during the mid-season transfer window, has already extended his stay by signing a new two year deal. Machope scored a staggering seven goals in 12 appearances for the team, exploits that saw him attracting the attention of a number of clubs including giants Dynamos.

The departure gates at the club could be just as busy, with at least 15 players expected to be laid off when the transfer window open in a fortnight.

Buju also spoke about the team's home ground, Wadzanai Stadium in Shamva which he is hoping would be fully refurbished by the time the league season starts at the end of February.

The stadium is currently being revamped to a 10 000-seater, and the club's leadership is hoping that it will meet Premier Soccer League standards for it to host topflight matches. Simba Bhora were forced to play their home matches away from Shamva after their stadium failed the homologation test.

They initially used the National Sports Stadium in Harare before relocating to Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro Ngezi, when the giant facility was shut for renovations.

Buju blamed some of their struggles last season to fatigue, caused by the constant shuttling between games every week.

But with Wadzanai Stadium set to be complete and ready for use next season, the club is looking forward to a successful campaign.

"Considering that next year we will be playing our home matches in Shamva, we are more than motivated and there is no reason for us not to dream. The chances of winning the league are massive. We showed a lot of potential in our first season so we just need to build on from there," he said.


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