MUTARE residents are over the moon after Tenax FC were readmitted back into the Castle Lager Premiership despite missing the deadline to pay affiliation fees.
Tenax were promoted into the top flight after they won the 2019 Zifa Eastern Region Division One title but their dream of playing in the top flight was hampered after they failed to raise the
$208 000 affiliation fees.
The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services side had been given until March 13 to pay the fee but the deadline came and passed after they had only managed to raise $140 000.
Tenax were finally able to pay the balance earlier this week and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) emergency committee gave the club a reprieve.
“The PSL emergency committee has resolved to admit Tenax FC as a member of the PSL after the club made full payment of the membership, subscription fees and security deposit.
“The club is expected to submit its player registration documents by March 31, 2020 in preparation for the 2020 Castle Lager PSL season,” PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said yesterday.
Tenax welcomed the news and are now looking forward to competing in the top flight once the ban on all sporting activities is lifted.
“We always had faith in justice after fighting so hard for so many years to come to this stage and having managed to raise the affiliation fees in a difficult economic environment and only missing the deadline to settle the remaining third of the total fee,” Tenax spokesperson Liberty Mhlanga told the Daily News.
“Our training regime was never affected and we have been practicing with all the confidence that we will be in the top flight league this season.”
Mutare football enthusiasts are now pleased that the town will have two teams in the Premiership when the 2020 season finally kicks off.
The other team from the town in the top tier is Manica Diamonds, who will be in their second year in the league.
“This is very good news not only for us as fans and those who will exploit the business opportunities around match days but for our upcoming footballers who will have more exposure to the sport,” Godfrey Sithole, a football fan, said.
Highlanders supporter Tawanda Dhliwayo said the game would be the biggest winner following the decision.
With Tenax’s affiliation woes now over, the biggest challenge for Mutare is to ensure Sakubva is ready to host top flight football.
The venue has not been able to host matches for the past five years because of the deplorable state of some of its facilities.