Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
RECENTLY promoted Bulawayo City have declared they are in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League to stay.
Club chairman Jerry Sibanda said, they had in that regard, started a process of finalising their squad for next season. City have already offloaded 18 players from the 33 who did duty for the club in the lower league. Among those shown the door is former How Mine, Ajax Cape Town and Highlanders striker Simba Sithole.
According to Sibanda, some players would be loaned out to other clubs with the view of recalling them at some stage during the course of the season.
“After our last match against Indlovu Iyanyathela we have been busy with our preparations for next season. We have offloaded 18 players out of the 33 we had. Out of those, some will be sent on loan if we see that they can be useful to the club in future. We are busy looking for players, as soon as the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League ends we are starting to sign players, we are looking for at least five players from the PSL, the rest we will get them from Division One clubs. We want to sign local talent,’’ said Sibanda.
One of their priorities, according to Sibanda, is coming up with three developmental teams namely Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 to ensure there was a foundation for the club.
Sibanda revealed that by 11 December they would have come up with a 25-men senior squad and then resume their fine tuning for the season on 5 January next year.
On where they will get the five junior players as per PSL requirements, Sibanda pointed out that they might get them from schools. Amakhosi are going to make use of Barbourfields Stadium for their home matches and Sibanda said they were in the process of talking to Highlanders who also use the same venue.
“We are going to request from our elders Highlanders to share Barbourfields Stadium with us. We prefer playing our home matches on Saturdays so that we do not clash with Highlanders. If need be we will make use of other council stadia,’’ said Sibanda.
Chicken Inn last Saturday sealed the championship five seasons into the PSL and Sibanda said they would also emulate the same feat in the same period in top flight.
“We want to go compete and stay in the PSL, after five seasons we want to have won something significant,’’ Sibanda said.
Taking a cue from failure of Chicken Inn and How Mine to attract fans, Sibanda revealed a plan to develop a fan base that would include engaging social soccer teams, advertising the team and selling the team to the people of Bulawayo.
He is convinced that if the team does well, the people will be eager to support it. Bulawayo City had on average 300 fans for most of their home matches this season with the biggest crowd recorded in their clash against Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve Stadium.
Amakhosi have plans to implement the Fifa Club Licensing structures and an office has been set up at the Tower Block, the Bulawayo City Council administrative offices.
Sibanda disclosed they would retain the technical set-up led by Philani “Beefy” Ncube and might even make additions. Ncube is assisted by former AmaZulu and Highlanders midfielder Farai Mujokoro.
Bulawayo City, captained by Xolisani Ncube won the Zifa Southern Region Division One with 71 points, these secured from 22 wins, five draws with just three defeats.