Shabanie win Central Soccer League title
MAGLAS Stadium in Zvishavane was a theatre of wild celebrations on Saturday after Shabanie Mine clinched the Zifa Central Soccer League title by beating FC Platinum Under-19 1–0.
Lloyd Gweringa secured victory for the asbestos miners in the 83rd minute, taking their points tally to 66 with one round of matches to go.
Second-placed Ivan Hoe, who dismissed Kwekwe Sables 2–1 can only finish on 64 points if they win their last game of the season. Blanket Mine, who are in third place, will end the season on 65 points should they win their remaining game and are also awarded their abandoned game against Blanket Mine.
Shabanie Mine now wait to hear whether they will be involved in promotional play-offs for the Premiership or they will go straight into the elite league.
Local football was plunged into confusion last week when Zifa councillors voted to relegate four teams from the Premiership and replace them with winners of its four regional leagues.
However, this is in breach of a 2015 resolution that only two teams would be chopped from the PSL, with winners of the four regional Zifa leagues battling it out in promotional play-offs for two PSL slots.
Talks are reportedly on-going and Shabanie Mine would be advised to celebrate winning the CSL, but put their champagne on ice regarding returning to the topflight after two seasons in the second tier league.
Tendai Chikuni, the Shabanie Mine coach, was over the moon after winning the title, which he said was achieved under difficult conditions.
“It is good that we have managed to win despite the tough conditions that we were in. You had a situation whereby the boys were not being paid at times, but you had to motivate them to keep going, which goes to show that money alone cannot secure success,” said Chikuni.
Shabanie Mine chairman Albert Marufu said the club is going to embark on various initiatives to ensure that it is well resourced for its possible Premiership sojourn.
Marufu dedicated the title to the late club chairman Nephel Rugara, who passed away earlier in the season after collapsing at Mandava Stadium during the reverse fixture against FC Platinum Under-19.
Before the match, Shabanie Mine supporters marched from Mandava Stadium to Maglas Stadium in memory of Rugara.
Shabanie Mine join Zifa Northern Region winners Black Rhinos in awaiting their fate. - @lavuzigara1