By Eddie Chikamhi
Harare City are set to bounce back into the Premiership after it emerged yesterday that they are at the forefront to inherit the franchise surrendered by Bulawayo side How Mine.
Strong indications are that the Sunshine Boys, who suffered a shock relegation last season under Philani Ncube, will not be going down, especially after they had retained most of their key players.
Although Harare City officials professed ignorance of the developments, impeccable sources told The Herald last night that the deal between How Mine and Harare City indicated that talks had been going on for a long time.
How Mine notified the PSL they would not be able to play in the top-flight this year while Harare City also indicated to the ZIFA Northern region they would let their Under-19 side retain the Division One slot.
“It is not something that has just come about overnight. How Mine had long made a decision to dispose of their franchise and they offered it to Harare City.
“Of course, there were some sticking points at first, like the demand that Harare City would not only absorb the entire How Mine squad and coaches, but that the team would have to be based in Bulawayo.
“But playing in Bulawayo would not make sense for the team that is called Harare City and in the end those issues were thrashed out and the two clubs agreed to the franchise deal.
“So the PSL and the Northern Region have basically been aware of the developments, but they did well to keep a tight lid on the matter,’’ sources said.
The sources said the Sunshine Boys were planning a return to the Premiership when they signed such players like former CAPS United captain Moses Muchenje while also retaining Martin Vengesai, William Manondo and Tendai Samanja among a host of other seasoned players.
Harare City, who will be under the guidance of Englishman Mark Harrison, also kept faith with fitness trainer Thompson Matenda while roping in former Dynamos goalminder Tichaona Diya as their goalkeepers’ coach.
Mark Mathe, who once worked with Harrison at CAPS United, also reunited with his former boss.
How Mine officials confirmed the club had collapsed after their principal sponsors decided to review their corporate social responsibility strategy to focus on other projects.
In a statement last night, Metallon Management Services public relations manager Ranga Mberi said the company was in the process of meeting its contractual obligations to its playing and coaching personnel.
“Bulawayo Mining Company, the holding company for How Mine and the principal sponsors of How Mine Football Club, announces that it has reached an agreement with the Premier Soccer League to surrender the How Mine Football Club Premiership franchise.
“BMC is currently reviewing its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy with the aim to focus on projects that are mandated and driven by the local community.
“BMC’s future community investment policy is primarily focused on public infrastructure, education and health care,” said Mberi in the statement. The Herald