WATCH: Chaenda Chikwata, as Saints expelled from Division One
FRIDAY, September 15, 2023 was not ordinary day for Bulawayo and Zimbabwe football as Zimbabwe Saints FC were expelled from the Zifa Southern Region Division
One League. Behind Bulawayo Rovers FC and Highlanders FC, Chikwata as Saints were affectionately called by their multitudes of fans, are the city’s second most successful club. Saints were expelled for failure to pay Affiliation fees in full and for many walkovers.
The club has felt the financial heat in the absence of a dedicated sponsor with individuals who have stood by the club also feeling the heat and fatigue of having to dig from their pockets at the expense of their faimilies.
But management has assured sympathisers and members that it is not the end of the journey for the club. Ishmael Kaguru, the Zimbabwe Saints acting chairman who has over the past 30 years been among those that have stood solidly behind, the historic football project which boasts some big names in its player list like William Sibanda, Gibson Homela, Agent Sawu, Ephraim Chawanda, Muzondiwa Mugadza,
Moses Moyo and the late Vice President of Zimbabwe Joseph Msika, described Friday as an unfortunate day in the history of the institution. He said the lack of support from the business sector had affected the club’s day to day survival.
“It’s very unfortunate that we have now been expelled from the league, but irrespective of that, the situation is beyond our control considering where we stand right now as a nation economically,” said a despairing Kaguru who has held fort in trying times.
He said their bubble was burst last year when their ‘benefactor’ Adrian ‘Adachi’ Mtungwazi withdrew his support of the club to start his own project that is campaigning in the same league they were expelled from. Kaguru said Adachi had given them a glimmer of hope for revival.
The club which used to be the biggest in Bulawayo in the 1960s and 1970s, has struggled to stand on its own in the last 25 years and has been a ‘yo-yo’ team shuttling between non-existence, Division Two, juniors, Premiership and Division One.
“We were hoping that when we got the sponsorship from Adachi last year, we would push with them, but unfortunately somewhere along the lines, things did not go our way,” said Kaguru.
He assured Zimbabweans that it is not the end of the road for the club whose legacy is etched among the biggest and most successful clubs ever, in Zimbabwe.
Kaguru said they will go the academy and lower division route next year.
“It is not the end of Zimbabwe Saints, the way forward is that probably next year we will go back, probably to Division Four where we will start afresh and we are also planning on an academy, so Zimbabwe Saints will never die. One day the economy will pick up, and one day we will get a sponsor so that we get back to our roots, so it’s all about money and nothing else,” said the acting chairman