football 2

Franchise chaos rocks southern region start

Raymond Jaravaza
CONFUSION continues to reign supreme in the Zifa Southern Region franchise saga pitting the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and Quelaton with the league executive adamant the league would go on with one less team if a deal fails to materialise by Saturday.

Saturday is the deadline for player registration.

Nust have indicated their intentions to abandon their slot in the Zifa Southern Region league leaving original owners Quelation with an option to take it up or find a buyer.

Quelaton have opted to get a buyer with former yesteryear giants Zimbabwe Saints first in line to purchase the franchise.

But the Southern Region hierarchy continues to pour cold water on the a�?deala�� insisting Nust must write an official letter categorically stating the educational institutiona��s intention to pull out of the league.

Nust through their public relations department headed by Felix Moyo was quoted in the media citing failure to pay $7 000 to Quelaton as the reason for pulling out of the league.

So far no letter has reached the Zifa offices, at least according to league chairman Musa Mandaza.

a�?We are following the drama in the media and nothing has reached our offices in the form of an official notifying us of the decision by Nust to pull out of the league. We cannot act on hearsay. If the Nust franchise, the team at this stage we still recognise as part of the league, is not taken up by Saturday then we will go ahead without them,a�? said Mandaza.

Quelaton director Tawanda Ruzive is confident of beating the deadline.

The league made a resolution to increase the number of teams to 18 from 16.

All teams are expected to have submitted their player registration forms to the Zifa Southern Region office by Saturday.

Inquiries to teams such as Indlovu Iyanyathela, Bantu Rovers, Bulawayo Chiefs, new boys Talen Vision and Highlanders Academy indicate their respective clubs have either paid affiliation fees in full or paid deposits.

Highlanders Academy, according to club chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede, have paid $1 000 deposit in affiliation fees and a 30-member squad comprising 25 seniors and five juniors have been assembled. The team has paid the stipulated $250 registration fee for the technical bench and $20 for each player.

The league kicks off on 9 April.