The Sunday Mail
Don Makanyanga in ZVISHAVANE
FOR Shabanie Mine surviving through difficulties has become a lifestyle, they make up for their empty coffers with dogged determination.
The Zvishavane side has made a habit of defying the odds, going through crisis after crisis but still managing to return the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League status. However, this time around the league’s second oldest team – after Highlanders – faces a crisis like never before, one that can choke the life out of their fight to remain in the top flight.
“We are only left with 12 players on our books,” said club secretary Munyaradzi Nyashanu.
“We are experiencing a massive player exodus because of financial problems. Players have been requesting clearances and we are not going to stand in their way.”
The league’s top scorer David Temwanjira, defensive linkman Joel Nyabinde, ex-Dynamos player Carlos Rusere and Ali Masilelo are some of the key players who have deserted Shabanie Mine.
It remains to be seen if the Chinda Boys will be able to raise 18 players for today’s clash against Dynamos.
“We are in deep trouble and I don’t know how we will manage if we are to suffer injuries. Some people may accuse me of being alarmist but the thing is there is a real danger that we will not be able to raise a team for the game against Dynamos,” added Nyashanu.
“As an executive we have tried our best to keep the team going but we are fast reaching a dead end. We are in desperate need of a financial injection because there is no way a club can survive without money.
“We understand the situation that our players are facing here at Shabanie hence if opportunities come for them we won’t stop them. They are breadwinners and have families to feed.”
It would appear that the departure of former coach Takesure Chiragwi triggered the mass exodus that is threatening to cripple Shabanie Mine.
The 36-year-old Chiragwi quit last month citing lack of support from the club’s executive, some of whose members publicly questioned the gaffer’s technical acumen following the 0-4 Zvishavane Derby mauling by FC Platinum.
Some players interviewed by The Sunday Mail Sport credited the former Caps United midfielder with managing to steady the ship and getting the best out of them.
“Most of us were playing because of Deco (Chiragwi), he is the one who motivated us to keep going and play for our names. I can safely say he was the glue that kept us together because since the day he left things have not been the same.
“Unlike some people who make empty promises, Chiragwi gave us the undiluted truth and we respected him for that,” said one of the players.
Following Chiragwi’s departure Shabanie Mine tried unsuccessfully to rope in Moses Chunga as a replacement but their empty coffers made such a bid impossible to pull off.
In the end the club was forced to settle for the unheralded Alexio Sigion, who is determined to make a mark despite the difficult working environment he finds himself in.
“I would be lying if I claimed that the loss of several first team players has not affected the team. However, we have no option but to soldier on with what we have.
“The players who are here have to show that they deserve to play in the Premier League and this game against Dynamos gives them the perfect platform to show what they are capable of doing,” said Sigion.