Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
PREMIER Soccer League new boys Whawha’s status in the topflight will be decided by the PSL board of governors at an annual general meeting on March 6 after failing to pay affiliation fees.
The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services side is the only side that failed to meet the February 21 deadline for clubs to pay 2020 PSL affiliation fees of $208 000, amid indications that the ZPCS is not willing to fund two teams in the topflight league.
ZPCS seems to prefer Tenax, who won the 2019 Eastern Region Division One League and already paid its affiliation fees.
“As far as I am concerned, Whawha are yet to pay their affiliation fees after missing the February 21 deadline and now their fate will be decided by the board of governors at the annual general meeting on March 6,” PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said yesterday.
However, Whawha chairman Watson Matara was adamant yesterday that they will raise funds for affiliation.
“We have been in talks with two organisations from Gweru, one of which is a financial institution, who both promised to come to our aid and pay our affiliation fees. I am sure by the end of day today (yesterday) or tomorrow (today), we will have a clear picture on that,” said Matara.
There have been unconfirmed reports that the Gweru-based outfit was already in talks with TelOne, who were relegated from the elite league last season, for a possible franchise sale.
But Matara denied ever engaging in talks with the telecoms company sponsored team.
“The two clubs might deny that they are in talks, but with the way TelOne are holding their pre-season training, one can tell that they are not preparing for life in Division One. This week they are going on an out of town camp in Kariba,” said a source.
A highly placed source from the Zifa Central Region also hinted at talks between TelOne and Whawha, but poured cold water on the possibility of a franchise sale.
“Look, this matter is clear, Whawha are not a member of PSL because they haven’t paid their affiliation fees. That means the Central Region will provide the league (PSL) with the next club (that were runners-up to Whawha), which is Sheasham, in the event that our champions fail to progress to the PSL. Club Licensing clearly states that teams must be promoted on sporting merit, not on financial merit. We are watching the matter closely,” said the source.
Even if Whawha were to pay the affiliation fees, there is no guarantee that they will be able to fulfill the rigorous financial needs of league matches during the course of the season.