BULAWAYO – Zifa Southern Region Division One champions Bulawayo Chiefs were on Saturday presented with championship medals and a winners shield in recognition for winning promotion into the Castle Premiership.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony at Dingumuzi Stadium in Plumtree soon after Chiefs’ last game of the season against Hwange Juniors, which ended in a scoreless stalemate, the Southern Region chairman Morgan Dube, wished the Amakhosi well in the Premiership.
“I believe that our league is very strong because in the past three seasons we have had one team that got promoted into the PSL from this region coming back after just a season and my hope is that this one manages to stay up,” Dube said.
The occasion was graced by top ranking Zifa officials who included the association’s vice president Ndumiso Gumede and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, Zifa board member for development and former Warriors defender John Phiri, women’s football vice chairperson Cecilia Malunga and Buymore Investments’ Wavell Gunda, amongst others.
Mashingaidze applauded Chiefs’ promotion into the top flight league and said it symbolised the growth of football in the country.
“First and foremost this is the opening of new frontiers for our game as we now have a premiership side in Plumtree. It obviously brings back memories of Black Horrors and I hope the local community will support this project,” Mashingaidze said.
“I would like to pay my respect to the Chiefs owner Mr (Lovemore) Sibanda for bringing top flight football to Plumtree and from my talk with him plans are afoot to ensure that they play their home games in Plumtree and we are looking forward to that, provided the venue they will use will meet the required standards.”
And in an interview after the presentation ceremony, Chiefs owner Sibanda expressed optimism that his team would have built a stadium by the time the PSL season kicks off next year.
“We are going to finalise our talks with the city council this coming week and we are looking at securing land where we can build our own stadium because the ground that we have been using (Dingumuzi Stadium) cannot be renovated to host big matches because of its location,” Sibanda said.
Chiefs were led to the Southern Region First Division championship by youthful coach Thulani Sibanda and among the team’s star performers were the likes of Pride Zireni, George Majika and team captain Lindelani “Vice” Ncube.