Fungai Muderere/ Bruce Ndlovu
SHANGANI Stars Football Club might be the next team from the backwaters of Zimbabwe to hit the big time, as the community team under the tutelage of Ishmael Banda is set to enjoy substantial sponsorship from ambitious local businessman Themba Nkomo who revealed that come next year the club would be playing in the Zifa Southern Region Division Two League.
According to Nkomo (33), a businessman that is into mining and runs a bottle store and a restaurant in Shangani, they are looking forward to reading from the Tsholotsho FC script, ghosting all the way from the periphery to the core of Zimbabwean football.
After several unsuccessful campaigns in the Zifa Southern Region Division One League, under the tutelage of Lizwe Sweswe, Tsholotsho FC made history at the end 2014 when they became the first Zimbabwean football club from a rural setup to earn Premier Soccer League promotion.
a�?Through my businesses Ia��m pledging full support for this community team. Ia��m willing to assist in any way. I love soccer and as such I think I will be channelling my funds to a place where my heart is. Come 2017, we are registering the club as a Division Two outfit. We are in the process of doing all the modalities with the help of various people that have been in football for sometime,a�? said Nkomo on the sidelines of the cluba��s recent training workout that saw the cluba��s players being helped out by ex-Highlanders and Railstars winger Colleen Nyambiya.
a�?Everyone in this community should come and support the club. The door is open. This should be a collective effort.
If Tsholotsho FC managed to get promoted into the premiership, what can stop us?a�? quizzed Nkomo who once worked as a miner at Shangani Mine and is now anA� agent bank gold buyer.
Coach Banda said they wanted to spend a single season in the Division Two League and get promoted into the first division before a 2018 premiership dance.
a�?All what we need is sound support and Ia��m free to mention that our sponsor (Nkomo) has promised to pamper and protect us. Ita��s now up to us as coaches and the boys to work hard. I believe Tsholotsho FC made its own piece of history through determination and hard work. We should be playing in the premier league by 2018,a�? said Banda who has Joseph Mangwanda and Siza Banda as his first and second assistant coaches respectively.
Thembani Zgambo is the cluba��s manager while Marrison Banda is the chairman. Sibonile Ncube and Jacob Nyoni are the two committee members.
For their 2017 Division Two campaign, Shangani Stars, who boast of their captain Wilfred Zgambo, vice-captain Gunizani Banda, defender Forgiveness Nyoni, Nesta Sibanda and striker Prince Nyathi among other seemingly talented players, Marrison said they would use Bulawayoa��s Raylton Recreation Club as their home ground.
The ambitious club is also contemplating having two training sessions in Bulawayo per week.
a�?We will have training sessions in Shangani and Bulawayo. We have agreed that we will train twice in Bulawayo at Raylton Sports Club. We believe that against all odds it can still be done,a�? said Marrison.
The club is also home to Under-14 players and twin brothers Trymore and Trynos Mapfumba who have since been recommended to the fast growing Young Flying Stars Football Academy that has Nyambiya as its director.
a�?Ia��m happy to say Trymore and Trynos have shown the quality of young players we have. We wish them well at the academy where they will be with the Under 15 age group. We hope and trust they will be our good ambassadors,a�? said Marrison.
As if this was not enough, Mduduzi Mhlanga recently joined Young Flying Starsa�� Under 21 age group from Shangani Stars.
a�?Mduduzi is a gifted player. He has skill and technique which we are trying to sharpen at the academy. We enjoy a good working relationship with Shangani Stars, a club that seems to have a lot of vision. Ia��m grateful, sponsorship has come their way,a�? said Nyambiya who works hand in glove with Master Masiku and Nomsa a�?Boysa�? Moyo at the academy.
Masiku is a former Zimbabwe international who also played for Highlanders, Railstars and AmaZulu. Moyo is an ex Mighty Warriors captain who did well for New Orleans alongside Sithethelelwe a�?Kwinji15a�?a�� Sibanda and Precious a�?Gringoa�? Mpala at club level and in the senior national womena��s team.