The Sunday Mail
Langton Nyakwenda in SHAMVA
THE gold mining town of Shamva was glittering yesterday after their favourite team — Simba Bhora — secured the Ruyamuro Northern Region Soccer League championship and won promotion into the top-flight after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Commando Bullets.
Leading scorer Tinashe Balakasi scored his 29th goal of the season, before Dean Chunga and Simbarashe Maramwidze sealed the deal for Simba Bhora, who dedicated the championship to the late midfielder Barnabus Mushunje.
The win pushed Simba Bhora’s tally to an assailable 72 points, effectively shutting the door on second-placed Herentals U20, who will be in action today.
Mushunje, who was a key player for Simba Bhora, died in a car accident on Shamva Road in June.
“In all this jubilation, we should not forget Barnabus Mushunje. We are dedicating this title to him,” veteran defender Hardlife Zvirekwi told The Sunday Mail Sport, amid scenes of wild celebrations across the mining town.
Simba Bhora players broke into song and dance soon after the final whistle, as their colourful brass band belted some vibrant tunes from the stands.
This is the first time a team from Shamva has qualified for the Premier Soccer League.
The home crowd saluted coach Arthur Tutani and his charges before they were handed medals and the trophy by Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Tino Machakaire.
“It’s good for the development of the game to have Premier Soccer League football in areas like Shamva,” he said.
Tutani was calm and collected as he addressed the media after the match.
Yesterday’s title was Tutani’s third in the Northern Region Division One League.
He has done it before with Mwana Africa and Sporting Lions.
“It was a difficult race, a marathon that needed us to fight from the beginning to the end,” said Tutani.
The veteran coach hinted that he will beef up the squad as part of preparations for life in the relatively tougher top-flight.
Prominent personalities, including renowned businessman and politician Scott Sakupwanya, watched the match.
Northern Region chairperson Martin Kweza was also in attendance.
Kweza is credited for transforming the league, which is by far the most followed football competition in the country this season.
Yet another decent crowd watched as Simba Bhora were crowned champions.
Club vice-president Tonderai Ndoro confirmed that Wadzanai Stadium would be further upgraded and spruced up to meet PSL standards.
“It has been our wish since 2008 to have Simba Bhora in the Premiership, and today we are overwhelmed,’’ she said.
Simba Bhora captain Brighton Tuwaya is excited with another return to the elite league.
The seasoned defender has previously seen duty with Dynamos, and played for them in the 2008 CAF Champions League.
“There is nothing which stops us from celebrating.
“We want to thank our fans for the support and I want to confirm that if the team still requires my services, I will be ready for another dance on the Premiership stage,” said Tuwaya, who last played in the Premier Soccer League in 2013 when turning out for Shabanie Mine.