ZVISHAVANE – With all odds heavily stacked against them, Shabanie Mine pulled off a huge success by upsetting FC Platinum to clinch the BancABC Sup8r Cup in Saturday’s final at Mandava Stadium.
The Chinda Boys won the trophy with a 5-3 penalty shootout victory after a pulsating 120 minutes of football that failed to produce any goals.
Shabanie had been in the headlines since the start of the season with the club failing to raise funds for camping allowances relying largely on donations from supporters.
Players have on many occasions threatened to boycott matches over outstanding dues.
This is a club that at one time attracted some of the best players and coaches at the turn of the millennium.
At one time the then coach Moses Chunga was handed a blank cheque and brought in players like Method Mwanjali, Clarkson Dzimbiri and Albert Mbano to mention just a few.
But things fell apart for the Chinda Boys following the closure of the asbestos mine and the clubs has been relying on the community for donations to keep going.
Since their return to the top flight league in 2010, Shabanie have not attracted any top notch players only managing to sign those players deemed excess baggage at other affluent clubs.
The arrival of FC Platinum on the scene has also meant that Shabanie are no longer the only top flight team in Zvishavane.
But coach Luke Masomere has built his team around the experience and determination of captain Tafadzwa Mombeshora, Caleb Masocha, Philip Sithole and Smart Muchabaiwa.
Mombeshora, who is maturing with age, has formed the backbone of the team's success alongside young Fungai Chirinda and was instrumental in Saturday’s victory.
“We don’t have stars in our team so we compensate that with team work. We cover for each other and against team with stars we know they want to play individually and to the gallery but we capitalise on that like we did against Platinum,” Mombeshora said after Saturday’s final.
“As for the problems at the club there is not much we can do as players except to devote our energies to play and win.
“We badly needed this money and this will go a long way in alleviating our financial problems at the club."
Masomere paid tribute to the supporters for their unwavering support even when the team was struggling.
The self proclaimed ‘Doctor of football’ said hardly a week passes without a problem at the club.
“We have problems week in week out but we have crafted the art of doing well despite these challenges,” said Masomere.
“There isn’t much we can do except to keep working harder especially for the supporters and the Zvishavane community.
“We owe our success to the supporters even when I was banned because of the Asiagate they kept on supporting me and those who held fort during my absence.
“This year things have not been rosy for us financially, the players have been through thick and thin and I would like to applaud them for that.
Masomere added: “To the Shabanie Mine supporters, I salute you. No one is better than you. You are simply the best.”