Arcadia target PSL return

HARARE – Former Arcadia United players have launched an ambitious project to see the once popular club back in the Premier Soccer League.

The Harare-based club which used to play their home games at Danny Bismark Stadium was relegated at the end of the 1999/2000 season.

Since then, Arcadia had sunk into oblivion as boardroom squabbles for the control of the club took centre stage.

But some 17 years later, it seems there is a ray of hope for one of the traditional giants of Zimbabwean football.

Ex-Arcadia striker Sean Charters has teamed up with his former teammates to set up junior structures that would ultimately see the resurrection of the club.

At the moment, they are planning to register their academy in the Zifa Harare Division Two League for the 2018 season.

“A group of former players the likes of Carlos Max, Charlie Jones, myself were seated one day and said let’s start giving back to football in our community and we want to  restart with the juniors where we all have passion since we all came through the same development programmes in the community,” Charters told the Daily News.

“It’s moved on quite well, we named it Vision 2020 as the vision is to be back to playing Premier League football in the year 2020. It is hard work, a lot of work has gone into the ground; we are doing a lot of development things.”

The 1971 Zimbabwean champions have gone back to where it all started by setting up their academy at Danny Bismarck Stadium.

It is their hope that the team will grow and by 2020, they would have progressed through the ranks to reach the top flight league.

“We are fortunate the community is slowly coming on board helping the project. A lot of people are now interested in the project. We held a very successful Under-18 tournament this past weekend which was a great football showcase,” Charters said.

“The plea we have is we need corporates to sponsor some of these teams, individuals cannot do it alone. We need to put structures in place to improve the livelihoods of these young players.

“The trend in Zimbabwe is that a star player plays for Dynamos, he lasts 10 to 15 years and then what happens to that guy?

“He’s put on the side because in 10 to 15 years he’s no longer the star player, a new star has arrived on the show and the former player is left destitute because all he knew was football.”

During their peak, Arcadia was one of the best football clubs in local football and were known for their passing game and passion.

Beside their 1971 title, they also won the 1985 Chibuku Trophy after beating Highlanders 1-0 in the final.

The club also produced some of the best footballers to ever emerge in domestic football like Jones, Charters, Charlie White, Mike Abrahams, Reg Payne (late), Hamid Dhana, Bethal Salis (late), George Rollo, Greg Payne, Wesley Gilbert, Nat Bismark, Joey Antipas, Peter and Miguel Lemming.