The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
ZIMBABWE Saints board chairman, Vincent Pamire says the 1988 Zimbabwean soccer champions are back for good as they have made concrete plans to ensure they do not slide back into oblivion again.
Pamire said they plotted their return since the beginning of last year and are confident they will manage to stay afloat.
He said they were aware they would need deep pockets on their return if they are to make an impact and ensure the “community” club does not sink again.
Scales have shifted in local football with traditional giants, in which category falls in, such as Dynamos and Highlanders struggling due to lack of financial resources with company-funded teams such as Chicken Inn, Ngezi Platinum Stars and FC Platinum taking over the show.
Pamire said they have learnt from their mistakes and have turned a new leaf in the revival of Chauya Chikwata.
Saints were first relegated from the top flight in 2006 before they made a return in 2011 after buying Chitungwiza-based Eagles’ franchise but their stay was short-lived as they were relegated the same year. Chikwata were booted out of the Zifa Southern Region Division One in 2016 after failing to pay affiliation fees and not fulfilling three consecutive fixtures.
“Young people approached us and asked to run the club, convincing us they wanted us to rest and they were able to effectively run the club but unfortunately that was not to be.
“They got the club booted out from the league and then failed to run the Sports Club we had handed over to them. We believe we should have closely supervised them and guided them, which is what we are going to do now,” said Pamire.
He said they were relying on funding from supporters and well-wishers but there were entities willing to partner the club for the long run although he was not at liberty to name them.
Pamire said the fact they had managed to pay affiliation fees of $30 000 in full was a sign they are serious about their return and intent on staying afloat.
He said they had several players training the whole of last year but would be beefing up their squad and technical team.
“For us the suspension of the league due to the coronavirus is a blessing in disguise as it gives us ample time to scout for players and further prepare for the season. Any coach and player worth his name would not have come to Saints had we approached them before paying our affiliation fees in full and for us that act was to convince people that we are serious and they can come join us.
“We are not going to hire a coach because he once played for Zimbabwe Saints, no, we are going for someone who knows what he is doing and will ensure that we achieve our goals of getting into the Premiership,” added Pamire.
Saints produced national team players such as Joseph Machingura, Agent Sawu, Muzondiwa Mugadza, Ronald Sibanda, Henry McKop, Ephraim Chawanda, Gibson Homela, John Sibanda, Ebson “Sugar” Muguyo among others.