While football fans are excited about the resumption of the world’s most beautiful game, Masvingo United football club (FC) seems to have lost all hope of securing a sponsorship deal for the 2021 campaign.
Although the Division One leagues are not going to get the first nod to start, it is clear that they will be the next in line after Premier Soccer League (PSL) resumes.
However, Una Una as Masvingo United is popularly known have settled for ‘begging’ style to fund the club as sponsors and local corporates are not forthcoming.
Club chairperson, Hubert Fidze who was optimistic of a bright future when he assumed office has accepted defeat on the part of securing a sponsorship deal.
“The sponsor of the team will be the community and the community will help by raising the funds so that the team will be able to play their games without any problems. Besides the disbursement from Zifa our players didn’t receive anything during the lockdown period,’’ said Fidze.
With these conditions in place, it might be a mammoth task for head coach Ezekiel Mutoda to keep and assemble quality players who can compete for the top spot.
Players who had signed for Una Una before Covid-19 struck were paid an average of $1 700 for a contract of two years.
However, since games weren’t played, a few weeks ago Zifa wrote to clubs to find common ground with players who might want to quit or those who would have got offers elsewhere.
This might prove to be a ticking time for a confrontation between Una Una players and the management since the money which they received as signing on fees is now equivalent to US$20 on the interbank exchange rate.
Fidze however believes the contracts are still valid and once they get the nod to train players will flock in although he is not sure of the availability of all the ‘22’ players whom they signed.
“The contracts are still valid and I am optimistic the players are ready to get into the game if Zifa gives us permission to play. We are not sure if some of the players are still around because of the lockdown.
“We signed 22 players before and during the lockdown but we are not sure if they are all round. We will liaise with the technical team,’’ said Fidze.
The Busmen as Una Una is also known last tasted PSL in 2011 where they played a howler of a season and were relegated to less decorative D1.
Many efforts have been made to bring back PSL action to Mucheke Stadium but somehow the efforts have been blown away.
In 2015, the team missed a glorious chance to have another dance in topflight football when they had a steady sponsorship but failed to win in Mutoko on the last day of the season.
However, with 2021 bringing hosts of financial challenges and obviously no fans in the stadia, the community will have a mountain to climb when it comes to financing the club.