PSL preview No2: City begin life without Songani

HARARE - The challenge facing Harare City this season is replacing mercurial winger Silas Songani, who joined Danish top-flight side SønderjyskE at the beginning of the year.   

Songani was instrumental in City’s title charge last season and his unavailability in the final game of the season against CAPS United probably cost the Sunshine Boys the championship.

ADIOS! Silas Songani left Harare City at the start of the year to join Danish side SønderjyskE.

The speedy Zimbabwe international was suspended for that game after picking up a fifth yellow card in the penultimate game of the season against Highlanders a week earlier.

In the match against Highlanders, Songani played a blinder of a game as City ran out 4-0 winners to storm to the top of the log standings going into the final weekend of the season.

With Songani unavailable for the final game against CAPS, the Sunshine Boys put on a lethargic performance and could only draw 2-2 with a Makepekepe side that had only pride to play for.

Songani’s pace and accurate crosses could have been the difference on that catastrophic afternoon for City at the National Sports Stadium.

In the end, the Sunshine Boys lost the title to Dynamos on goal difference as they blew a golden chance to clinch their maiden Zimbabwe championship in only their second season in the top-flight league.  

Due to his impressive showing last season, Songani finally got his big break to sign for SønderjyskE and City will have to find an ideal replacement for the winger.

Speaking while unveiling the club’s new signings for the 2014 season, City chairman Leslie Gwindi said: “We had an outstanding season last year. In our hearts we know we won the league. In our hearts we know we won the Soccer Star of the Year award. But as it turns out God works in miraculous ways. The first runner-up (Songani) is in Europe and the Soccer Star (Muparati), I don’t remember seeing him on the field at Chan.”

This statement shows how highly regard Songani was at Harare City.

LIVEWIRE: Silas Songani, left, tormented a lot of defenders during his remarkable season for Harare City last year.

The Sunshine Boys’ season is going to depend heavily on how they go about their business without the talismanic winger, who was often their match winner last season.

Harare City coach Bigboy Mawiwi has brought in Benson Maglasi from CAPS United to be a direct replacement for the winger.

Maglasi had a splendid season with the Green Machine last season and was often their avenue to goal with his dribbling skills.

For a player of his sublime skill, Maglasi was however, a disappointment in terms of getting on the score sheet.

To mount a serious title challenge, a team needs its attacking midfielders and wingers to chip in with goals to help the forwards.

Last season, Maglasi only managed three goals for Makepekepe and he needs to increase his scoring rate for his new club.

Another new signing brought in by Mawiwi is forward Takudzwa Chimwemwe, from Northern Region Division One side, Twalumba FC.

Chimwemwe, who can play upfront or either wing, scored a total of 17 goals for Twalumba in the second tier of Zimbabwean football last season.

The big step to Premiership football is never easy and for a 20-yer-old it will be the ultimate test.

Another goal scorer of note who has joined City is Triangle’s top marksman from last season, Misheck Mburayi.

The former Lengthens and Motor Action forward netted total of 12 goals last term for the Chiredzi-based side and that form has earned him a move back to the capital.

Former Hwange, striker Francisco Zekumbawire has also joined the Sunshine Boys hopping to resurrect his career after a nightmarish short spell with Dynamos last season.

To be fair, Zekumbawire’s ill-fated stay at DeMbare was hampered by injuries which prevented him from making the impact he would have loved to make in the famous blue and white jersey.

Midfielder Mehli Sibanda has also arrived at the club after a disappointing spell in Zvishavane with FC Platinum.

To bolster his defence, Mawiwi has resorted to bringing in centre back Arnold Chivheya from CAPS United while Timire Mamvura has been signed to add steel to the midfield.

On paper, these are all terrific signings to add on the impressive squad already on City books from last season.

The club’s budget of at least $1.6 million has already caused havoc at Town House with the chairman of Harare City Council's finance committee, councillor Norman Markham, resigning from his post in protest.

A number of councillors have called on for the club’s franchise to be relinquished as debate continues to rage on.

Considering this huge budget, the Sunshine Boys are in a league of their own compared to the rest of the Premiership club.

A big budget however does not translate into instant success as Manchester City in the English Premiership and Monaco in France’s Ligue 1 have discovered.

It will all depend on whether Mawiwi is able to find the right balance within this expensively assembled side.

The weight of expectation will also heavily burden the Sunshine Boys as almost everyone will be making them favourites to win the league considering the vast amount of money that has been channelled into this project.

City begin their 2014 campaign with a trip away to Chicken Inn before they host CAPS United in their second game of the season.

Daily News’ predicated position: 2nd

Last season position: 3rd

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