Tobias Mandoreba in Hwange
THE soccer crazy coal mining town of Hwange was on Saturday plunged into mourning after Hwange FC were relegated from the Castle Lager Premier soccer league following a 2-0 loss to ZPC Kariba.
The club’s executive has however assured desolate fans that they will do all within their powers to ensure the team’s quick return to the elite league.
Hwange FC president Thomas Makore said he regretted the team’s demotion, but made an undertaking that the Hwange football brand would never die.
“It’s sad that the team got relegated, but in my opinion they tried their level best although it was not to be. As a company, we will do everything within our powers to ensure that the team quickly bounces back to the topflight league,” said Makore.
“If you are in a contest and you lose, you don’t give up, but rather you work on some remedies and come back a stronger unit, so I am assuring the local community that we will preserve the Hwange football brand which has been in existence for decades,” he said.
Hwange fans lamented the team’s relegation with most of them calling for channeling of more resources to the team.
The Hwange supporters’ chairperson Maybin Dizomba declared that the coalminers will bounce back to the elite league.
“It’s a sad moment and heartbreaking, but Hwange will bounce back and I hope the sponsor will continue to bankroll the side. I also think the whole executive needs an overhaul if Chipangano’s former glory is to be restored,” said an emotional Dizomba.
Misheck Ncube from Lwendulu village urged the team’s leadership to pour more funds into the team even in Division One.
“There is a need to ensure that the squad is kept intact by injecting more money into the team. The players are good and if we maintain the squad we will have a stroll in Division One,” Ncube said.
Paradzai Makunde from the same suburb urged the community not to panic and urged the team’s administrators not to make hurried and ill-timed decisions.
“Relegation is part of the matrix in this game but we don’t need to panic and make some irrational decisions because the set up is fine and we need to fully support them to ensure our beloved team is back with a bang in 2019,” said Makunde.
Another passionate supporter Martin Chiwora is also hopeful the setback will instead spur the boys to work harder.
“It is a minor setback and will be a challenge to the players to work harder and ensure the team is back in the big league because it is where we belong,” said Chiwora.
Cheumali Phiri bemoaned lack of incentives for the players and hoped the boys would be motivated in the lower league.
“As long as there is no motivation for the boys, we won’t succeed, so I am urging the executive to prioritise that area as we fight to bounce back to the topflight league,” said Phiri.
Peter Sibanda said Hwange will be a “ghost town” without Chipangano.
“Hwange will be literally dead without Chipangano and I pray that any of the teams can wake up and sell their franchise because our town will be non-existent without football. Next year will be miserable,” said Sibanda.
Hwange were last relegated in 2007, but made a quick return to the Premiership after just a year in the unfashionable Division One league.
Hwange join other big teams such as Tsholotsho and Bantu Rovers which were also relegated. — @tobymandox