Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
HAVING survived relegation on the last day of the 2017 season, Bulawayo City FC embarked on a massive overhaul of players, retaining just a third of the squad they had in the Premiership last year.
The nine players that survived new coach Darlington Dodo’s axe are young goalkeeper Aaron Ngwenya, the defensive trio of captain Zibusiso Sibanda, Zephaniah Ngodzo and Morris Kadzola, midfielders Rainsome Pavari, Humphrey Ncube, Trevor Ndlovu, Innocent Kutsanzira and Sipho Ndlovu. Clive Rupiya, who is registered in the Under-20 slot, is the only surviving striker.
City also managed to extend winger Ishmael Wadi’s loan from FC Platinum. Wadi joined the municipal side during the 2017 mid-season transfer window and became an integral part in the fight against relegation.
Dodo, who took over the reins from Mandla Mpofu, now assistant to Madinda Ndlovu at Highlanders, brought in a total of 16 new faces to City.
Dodo reinforced the defence line with four new faces, Admire Dzumbunu from Shabanie Mine, ex-Highlanders’ skipper Erick Mudzingwa, Trust Nyabinde, formerly with Tsholotsho FC, and Crispen Gosogoso Ncube from Talen Vision. Ncube spent the 2017 season attached to a Slovakian club.
They have also added five midfielders, Timothy January (ex-How Mine), the trio of Ayanda Ncube, Lucky Nyathi and Tatenda Tavengwa, who were with relegated Tsholotsho FC, as well as Justin Kaunda, formerly with Hwange.
Unheralded Tawanda Chagaresango, who joins the club from Northern Region side Gunners, leads the new strike force, which includes ex-Triangle United’s Tawanda Muyendi, Nhlanhla Ndlovu (ex-Highlanders) and Mgcini Sibanda (ex-How Mine).
Skipper, Sibanda believes the new additions will inspire them to a better finish.
“With this squad we are assured of a top 10 finish because we have a new coach and have better quality in terms of players who’ve joined us compared to last season,” Sibanda said.
Players discarded by City include goalkeepers Ndodana Sibanda and Liberty Chirava; defenders Andrew Tandi, Nyasha Mukumbi, Munyaradzi Mungadze and Fortune Ncube as well as midfielders Bhekimpilo Ncube, Heritein Masuku and Douglas Sibanda.
Bulawayo City 2018 squad
Goalkeepers: Takudzwa Ndoro, Aaron Ngwenya, Wellington Muuya
Defenders: Zibusiso Sibanda, Zephaniah Ngodzo, Morris Kadzola, Admire Dzumbunu, Erick Mudzingwa, Crispen Ncube, Trust Nyabinde
Midfielders: Timothy January, Justine Kaunda, Humphrey Ncube, Ayanda Ncube, Sipho Ndlovu, Trevor Ndlovu, Lucky Nyathi, Rainsome Pavari, Tatenda Tavengwa, Ishmael Wadi, Innocent Kutsanzira
Strikers: Tawanda Chagaresango, Tawanda Muendi, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Mgcini Sibanda
Under-20: Clive Rupiya, Gift Lunga Junior.