MOSES Chunga’s newly promoted Premier Soccer League side Hippo Valley has been disbanded, leaving the top flight league with 15 teams.
Hippo Valley were promoted from the Eastern Region as one of the four regional champions, but their disbandment has left the league with a head-ache and will now seek guidance from Zifa on the way forward.
Sponsors, Tongaat Hullet said they are spending $580,000 per season on another side Triangle, which is already in the PSL and would not be in a position to fund two teams.
So bad is the situation at the sugar cane manufacturing company that Hippo Valley will not even be allowed to maintain their status in Division One.
“For the record, we would like to note that during the 2013 soccer season, Hippo Valley FC was wholly sponsored by Tongaat Hullet Hippo Valley Estate Operations,” reads a letter from Hippo Valley chairman Tarisai Mudambanuki to the PSL and ZIFA.
“As you may be aware Tongaat Hullet also sponsors Triangle Football Club which is part of the PSL. This means with the promotion of Hippo Valley FC into the PSL, Tongaat Hullet operations would have to sponsor two teams in the PSL.
“Given the above, Hippo Valley have given careful consideration to pertinent issues that Triangle United and Hippo Valley who draw their sponsorship from the same source and are based in the same locality.
“Following extensive consultations with key stakeholders, we wish to advise that Hippo Valley FC will not be able to participate in the PSL commencing from 2014 season.
“Hippo Valley will be working with its sister club Triangle United to build a strong and competitive outfit which we believe will be sufficiently positioned to bring high standards into the game of football, while at the same time providing quality entertainment to the Lowveld community.”
Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said the only plausible thing was to promote Mutare City Rovers, who had finished in second position in the Eastern Region Division One league.
Alternatively, he said, since football franchises are the property of national associations, it could be sold to whoever can afford to pay the asking price.
The latest decision has left Chunga without a job. Thomas Deka, the Tongaat Hullet human resources executive said the players will be paid their salaries and terminal benefits and no one would be prejudiced.