Nichrut FC

GONE DOWN THE DRAIN: $3000-A-Week Nichrut folds

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BURDENED with the financial load of spending thousands of dollars week in week out without corporate backing, Nichrut FC owner Nicholas Gara is folding the club and calling it quits.

Based in the gold and chrome mining enclave of Shurugwi in the Midlands Province, Nichrut FC made history by becoming the first team in the small town to play in the elite Premier Soccer League.

Nichrut FC is not just a football club but had become the common denominator that brought together the people of the town known for its notoriously violent artisanal miners (omakorokoza).

On average the team spent well over $3 000 per week on accommodation and travel expenses to fulfil PSL matches, money that came from the pockets of owner Gara and club chief executive officer Admire Hapazari.

“For away matches in places like Kariba we spent close to $5 000 in accommodation and travel expenses and in the event that we won a game, the players and coaches expected to be paid winning bonuses within a week, all that from our own pockets,” club CEO Hapazari told B-Metro Sport by telephone from Shurugwi.

The club paid $150 in winning bonuses per player for the entire 18-member traveling squad as well as $200 each for 5 members of the technical team.

Winning bonuses totalled $3 700 per win.

“Sponsoring a PSL club is not easy in this country without corporate backing and in as much as we would love to continue supporting the Nichrut FC project, it’s just not possible,” explained Hapazari.

To add to the club’s demise, the Zifa grounds inspection committee condemned Nichrut’s preferred home stadium in Shurugwi, forcing the team to travel for all its 34 games played in the 2018 Castle Lager Premiership season.

“Not all our supporters could afford to travel to Ascot Stadium (in Gweru) for home games, a situation that deprived us revenue in gate takings, money that could have covered some of our expenses,” he said.

The owners will take a sabbatical from football for at least two years.

The current players have been told to join other teams.

“There will be no Nichrut FC next year but we hope to come back into football in the near future when the conditions are right,” added Hapazari.