KWEKWE- Despite the fact that the debatably competitive Division 1 league is still in its infancy with just two games played thus far, football enthusiasts from the Midlands mining town of Kwekwe are pinning hopes of premier league football on ZIFA Central Soccer League debutants, Dendairy FC.
Sponsored by the country’s popular dairy concern Dendairy, the youthful side is already at the apex of the 18-team log with a superior goal difference against four other teams tied on four points. In their first game, the side literally handcuffed ZRP Gweru by 2 goals to nil in their own backyard before sharing points with fourth-placed Dulibadzimu FC in a goalless draw at Mbizo Stadium last weekend.
But, it was the fascinating play from the youthful Dendairy FC lads which revived hopes of Kwekwe’s second dance with the revered premier league since the fall of Lancashire Steel FC over a decade ago. Known as Chimbi-Chimbi Boys, Lancashire Steel were relegated from the premier league in 2008 and the following year, the debt-ridden side sold its franchise to then Division One side, Gokwe Mateta FC.
Coached by former Shabanie Mine FC, Hwange FC, Lancashire Steel and Warriors Under 20 gaffer Solomon Kaseke, the Citro Boys are expected to tap into the coaching experience of their revered coach to scoop the coveted championship, come year-end.
Speaking to this reporter in an interview on Wednesday, team manager Russel Tudhope said winning the championship and gaining promotion into the top flight league is their ‘Number One goal’. Tudhope also revealed that the team is having a busy Easter schedule, where they will play a friendly on Independence Day and face Black Eagles FC in an away fixture before playing host to Kwekwe United in a potentially explosive derby at their hunting fortress, Mbizo Stadium.
“That (winning the championship) is our number one goal for us to be able to do. We have two games (this Easter) and one friendly tomorrow (Independence Day)”, Tudhope told midlandsnews.
With the moneyed side making a debut appearance in the Central Soccer League, it is generally hoped that the soccer side will be able to emulate other sides which are being bankrolled by operational companies in the league. Community-owned sides like Dynamos and Highlanders may be synonymous with drawing larger crowds at their match venues but well-resourced sides like FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars are well regarded over the way they reward their staffers.
With its dairy products consumed on a daily basis across the country, it is also hoped that Dendairy FC will be able to emulate well-sponsored sides which have fared very well in the league. And fans in Kwekwe are hoping Dendairy will be able to stand the heat in the league.
“We certainly hope that this is the time for Kwekwe to shine again. We grew up watching premier league football at Baghdad and we also want our children to grow up watching premier league”, said Kennedy Rutsito a prominent football supporter known as Chief Jonga in sporting circles.
Another fan, Darlington ‘Daddy Killa’ Sithole also said Dendairy FC has what it takes to bring back premiership football to Kwekwe.
“They (Dendairy) have the resources and as you may be aware, players want money. They need food on their tables and Dendairy has that food on the table”, Daddy Killa echoed.
As the season is still in its infancy, the million dollar question remains: Will Dendairy bring back the smiles to the people of Kwekwe?