Sun not quite rising from the East

25 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
Sun not quite rising  from the East

The Sunday Mail

Langton Nyakwenda

WHILE promotion of Green Fuel into the Premiership is one of the feel-good stories of the year, the same cannot be said for the rest of the Eastern Region.

It actually seems the sun is not quite rising from the east.

Green Fuel wrote their own piece of history a couple of weeks ago when they became the first football club from Chipinge District to gain promotion into the Premier Soccer League.

The celebrations are yet to die down in Chisumbanje and at Checheche Growth Point.

However, a number of Eastern Region clubs remained seriously challenged throughout the season, with some of them failing to fulfil matches and forfeiting points.

Others such as Nzuma Bar faltered before the halfway stage of the competition.

Lowveld United and Zaka Academy were stopped from playing late in the season after the two clubs drowned in debts.

The Eastern Region is also grappling with a disciplinary issue involving Grayham FC, who were initially suspended and fined US$8 000 for causing the abandonment of their match against Green Fuel at Windsor Primary School in August.

The club, which is financed by Gray Hama, appealed against the ruling, which they claim was done by a hastily and unconstitutionally convened hearing.

The matter, which even spilled into ZIFA corridors, will now be handled by the Eastern Region Disciplinary Committee.

Hama almost quit the game as he felt the Eastern Region leadership was targeting him for being outspoken against the league’s executive, which is headed by veteran administrator Davison Muchena.

His deputy, Wisdom Simba, outlined the region’s challenges in an interview with The Sunday Mail Sport last week.

“The year 2022 was very tough for our clubs, and this is largely due to the economic hardships they faced,” he said.

“We saw Nzuma Bar failing to finish the season, before Zaka Academy and Lowveld United faltered along the way.

“Zaka Academy and Lowveld United were even failing to pay referees and we stopped them from playing from Match Day 25 because we feared they would continue to sink in debt.”

Results of all the matches involving Nzuma Bar were nullified.

Match Day 28 summarised the league’s predicament.

Only three fixtures were fulfilled.

Renco Mine, Mutare City Rovers and Masvingo United were all awarded three points after Pro Melfort, Lowveld United and Zaka Academy failed to fulfil their fixtures.

FC Wangu Mazodze were supposed to play the now-defunct Nzuma Bar, while the match between Surrey FC and Grayham was postponed as the latter was still on suspension.

“In this vein, we would like to applaud those teams that defied the odds and managed to fulfil their fixtures,” added Simba.

“We also have an outstanding case with Grayham. The matter has been referred to the Disciplinary Committee.”

Grayham is one of the teams being funded by individuals.

They have an annual budget of US$45 000.

Worryingly, club owner Hama is now thinking twice.

“For your own information, football in Zimbabwe has no returns. It’s an investment where you just pump out money for the sake of passion and for the sake of talented youngsters who need a platform.

“We sacrifice a lot. Some teams are dropping out but we have soldiered on,” said Hama.

“Sadly, these developments (suspension) are giving us a second thought. They are chasing us away from football.”

Grayham were promoted into the Eastern Region Division One in 2019.

“Football is expensive. For every trip to Chiredzi, Zaka, we fork out about US$1 200, and that is minus other obligations like affiliation fees.

“For a season, we budget around US$45 000, and we are doing this out of passion,” said Hama.

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