A Harare businessman, Evans “Boss Kuji” Kujinga cheered the spirits of his impoverished hometown football club, Shabanie Mine FC, by handing them a donation of three match balls, 40 chickens and 300kgs of beef at the weekend.
Kujinga, who is also a Dynamos fan, has always been supportive of his hometown football club and is ever present on the occasions the Premiership’s poorest team have matches in the capital.
The Shabanie Mine FC leaders have been crying out for a helping hand just to enable them to meet the huge costs that come with bankrolling a community side that has no sponsor, but survives on the benevolence of well-wishers.
The club have a huge support base and is considered one of the most supported football teams in the country.
But the proceeds from gate receipts have not been enough to sustain the massive costs that come with running a Premiership club and Shabanie Mine FC have been wobbling for some time now.
During the mid-season transfer window, the club lost a huge constituency of its players, who opted out of contract because of frustrations emanating from unpaid salaries and signing-on fees.
The Premiership leading goal-scorer David Temwanjira abandoned ship and moved to the comfort zone of ZPC Kariba, where he announced his arrival with a bang as he scored in the victory over Triangle United at the weekend.
Shabanie Mine FC were at the receiving end of a beating at the hands of former champions Chicken Inn, who are in third position in the championship race.
The Zvishavane club are in danger of relegation and the team’s leaders have been sending desperate messages to well-wishers to come and help them in their hour of need.
There are even fears the club could fail to complete the remainder of the Premiership campaign if they don’t get substantial funding in the coming weeks.
Kujinga, who grew up in Zvishavane before moving to Harare, answered his boyhood club’s desperate calls for a helping hand at the weekend.
The businessman, who has ventured into farming, has also made a commitment to donate to CAPS United captain Hardlife Zvirekwi as a show of support to the Green Machine star who had part of his left arm amputated after a horrific car crash.
Zvirekwi has battled the odds and is now back in action and even scored a goal at the weekend, in one of domestic football’s finest feel-good tales, as CAPS United defeated Black Rhinos 1-0 at Rufaro.
“Hardlife’s story cuts across the boundaries that separate us in terms of the clubs that we support,” Kujinga said.
“It’s a refreshing tale of what might have been a tragedy that has ended up in something, in terms of the fighting spirit he has demonstrated, which we all admire and are proud of.
“I might be from a Dynamos background, but this is something that has to be appreciated and supported, in terms of helping him continue to come back to the level that he was playing before the accident, and that is why I am going to help him with a small donation.”
Shabanie Mine FC were the immediate recipients of Kujinga’a benevolence at the weekend and the club thanked the businessman on their social media platform.
“Shabanie Mine FC would like to thank one of our sons in a good and welcome act that happened over the weekend,” the club said.
“One of our sons from Zvishavane, well known by most of us as Boss Kujinga, gave us three match balls, 40 chickens, 300kgs beef.
“Mr Kujinga promised to also give us tracksuits and transport for our away matches, he will meet with our executive soon to finalise on this issue.
“Let’s welcome this gesture and also continue to do our part.
“United we stand and we will surely go miles.”
Kujinga said yesterday he was only playing a small part and urged others from Zvishavane to play a part in ensuring the club survive.
“It’s a small part I am playing and I can’t meet all their demands, but hopefully this will show others who have the means that if we come together we can save this great club,” he said.
“Shabanie is more than just a football club to most people who grew up in Zvishavane, it’s part of who we are as a people, and it will be a tragedy if it collapses.
“I can only do so much, but if more guys come and help I think the team will survive and do better than they are doing now.
“They are not a bad side, but without motivation it’s hard to get the best out of the players and the coaches and we must be seen to be helping them.” The Herald