Masvingo – Former Premier League giants, Masvingo United, are now playing in the Eastern Region Division Two league after failing to register its name in the Division One league due to financial problems.
Asi haapo as Masvingo United is popularly known failed to raise $3 100 affiliation fee for Division 1 and ended up booking a ticket for Division 2 flight after paying $500 affiliation fee and $150 for players registration.
The Mavingo Province based team had to resort to community donations to raise the needed funds. In the previous weeks the team participated in a door to door campaign to raise funds for the Division 1 league ticket but could not meet the $3,100 target hence ended up in Division 2 league.
Masvingo United team coach, Fastino Mugeji confirmed that the the team is going through a rough patch in terms of its financial status.
“The team is facing financial problems but we playing well in the Division 2 and we have collected 8 points and will not lose hope, the team is no longer strong like before but the players are well determined to bring back football in Masvingo,” Mugeji said.
Speaking to Sportbrief, the team’s Committee Member Saul Chimbunde said the club’ s financial woes have painted a gloomy picture on once financially sound Mhunga sponsored team, with some followers doubting its current existence.
“Everyone thinks the team no longer exists and when we approach certain individuals for sponsorship they ask us if the team is of existence or not but the team still exists like before and we are not going to give up, others advise us to adopt another name and shun the brand name Masvingo United, ” he said.
The club’s secretary Moses Ncube bemoaned lack of sponsorship as the root of the team’s quagmire. According to Ncube, the executive board and a few community members are catering for the team.
“We approached a well known businessman in Masvingo,Bucho, for sponsorship who advised us to at least appeal to 50 business people so they can split costs amongst themselves,” said Ncube.
Failing to have a sponsor has been tough for the team as the Eastern Region feared to register the team into the Division 1 as there is noone they will claim their money from.
The team almost returned back into the Premier league in 2015 but conflicts with the football motherboard, ZIFA, which led to its suspension benefited Mutare City.
ZIFA Eastern region chairman, Tedious Machawira attributed the collapse of the erstwhile Tanda Tavaruva sponsored team to lack of sponsorship and harsh economic environment.
Started in 1997 and got its first premier league dance in the year 2000, Masvingo United groomed a number of players that are doing well locally and internationally. Players like of Ovidy Karuru who now plays for Amazulu in South Africa, Ngezi Platinum player Walter Mukanga, Tafadzwa Dube now with Yadah FC, Coaster Nhamoinesu playing for Sparta Prague in Czech Republic, Milton Makopa, and FC Platinum goalkeeper, Francis Tizirayi are some of United’s products.
Sadly, Masvingo United never benefited from the sale of these players owing to expired contracts, they left as free agents.
“If only the team made financial gains from the players the money was going to help in the development of the team, ” said Machawira.
Efforts to get a comment from the former sponsor, Tanda Tavaruva and sons company were fruitless.
Una Una were the winners of ZIFA Unity Cup in 2001 and 2005, the Zimbabwe Independence Trophy in 2006 and 2007 and the OK Woza Bhora in the year 2005.
Coaches like Charles Muhlauri, Luke Masomere and Taurai Mangwiro coached Masvingo United.
In 2002 the team was relegated but made its appearance again the following season in the PSL. In the year 2008, the team were again relegated and got back to the League 2011 and were relegated for the third time till present day.