My heart bleeds for Hwange – Zulu
BOTSWANA-based former Hwange Colliery FC midfielder, Fabian Zulu feels dumping tradition at the club could lead to the demise of the side which has been struggling in recent years.
Zulu, who has a number of caps with national teams, said the Premiership side has always been the fort of locals hence it has managed to propel several players from the area into stardom. He said his heart bleeds to see the team that gave him fame, seemingly heading for the doldrums.
Hwange’s fortunes have dipped in recent years and the team has been fighting for relegation instead of fighting for the title. A struggling Hwange Colliery Company has found it difficult to sustain the team with members of the squad going unpaid for several months, a fate that befell all of the coal mining company’s workers.
Departure of several players before the beginning of the 2017 season and lack of funds to bring in new ammunition saw the side become one of the strugglers in the Premiership posting inconsistent results.
Zulu, who is technical advisor at Premiership side Notwane FC in Botswana, believes management should have given support to the Nation Dube-led technical department that was shown the exit in July rather than removing them from power.
“I don’t think it was because of incompetence but rather lack of quality players in the squad. Players left and they were not replaced. We need a support system that would ensure there are reserves of talent that can play at the top level,” he said.
Zulu, who moved to Botswana in 1994, said there was need to nurture feeder teams for Hwange as was the norm in previous years, allowing ease of tapping of talent.
He revealed he made it into the senior team when he was still at school along with Zacheu Zulu, Godfrey Tamirepi and Laban Ngoma. Zulu said there seemed to be less football action at lower levels to ensure more youngsters are playing football.
“I think another missing link is the Wankie Football Association because the abundance of teams meant more players being developed and future stars would emerge from there. Talented boys would be recruited while still at school and I do not know why that is not happening anymore, we need to bring back that talent identification because Hwange has always thrived on local players,” he said from his Gaborone base.
He said he was worried by bringing in an “outsider” as a coach would alienate supporters who understand the team’s tradition. Colliery management roped in Bigboy Mawiwi to take over from Dube but fortunes are hardly changing.
The coal mining side is currently third from bottom on the league and could be playing in Division One next year if they don’t improve their performance.