PSL promotion:Clubs relieved

HARARE - After enduring a long wait to know their fate having won their respective Division One Leagues, Premiership-bound clubs from the second tier can now get down to serious business and prepare for top-flight football.

Domestic football was in limbo since last year after the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) clashed over the number of teams to be relegated and promoted at the end of the 2016 season.

Initially, two teams were supposed to be relegated from the top-flight league while the four winners from Division One took part in a play-off to determine the two teams to be promoted.

However, all hell broke loose following a Zifa AGM in October were councillors voted to relegate four teams and promote four.

The matter was finally put to bed after the PSL agreed to relegate two teams and promote four teams on Friday.

Bantu Rovers, who won the Southern Region Division league, general manager Wilbert Sibanda said they never stopped training despite the confusion surrounding promotion.

“Obviously it feels great to be finally cleared to play in the Premiership but we had already started preparations for the 2017 season regardless of where we were going to play - PSL or Division One,” Sibanda told the Daily News on Sunday.

“It is a massive development for the club and hopefully this time it will go our way. When we play we play to win but we don’t want to put pressure on our players. The first year is all about finding our feet and looking to survive.”

Yadah Gunners won the Eastern Region league and their coach Kuda Masaraure said they will not be going into the market in their maiden Premiership season in order to give youngsters who delivered the promotion a chance to shine.

“It’s an exciting feeling and we can’t wait to be in the Premiership but we haven’t started training yet just to give the players adequate rest,” Masaraure said.

“We will be getting into the big boys club with the squad that won us promotion. You may recall that...Walter Magaya spoke about redeeming people’s careers this year and in the same realm we just feel we might block that path for the youngsters if we are to go on the market to buy players so it will be time for them to shine.”

Central Region champions and Premiership returnees Shabanie Mine want to stay in the topflight and avoid going down again.

“Shabanie is a very big brand and the two seasons we have spent in Division 1 have ensured that we come back revitalised, reinvented and refocused so that we do not repeat past mistakes,” Shabanie Mine treasurer Munyaradzi Nyashanu said.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our quest to maximise the brand potential and make sure that we stay in the top flight league.”

The other team which will be making a comeback in the Premiership next year will be army side Black Rhinos, who won the Northern Region league.

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