THE future of Yadah Stars in the Premiership is now hanging in the balance after it emerged that football-mad Prophet Walter Magaya will no longer be sponsoring the club. Magaya is now contemplating either selling or donating the franchise. The decision on the club’s fate is set to be announced early next week after a management meeting.
But the situation on the ground is pointing to an end of Yadah Stars’ flirtation with the top-flight league after just one year among the big boys. The club’s leadership is believed to have set in motion an exercise of disposing some of their key players to other clubs. These include teenage forward Leeroy Mavhunga, who was named the best rookie in the domestic Premiership last season and even graduated to playing for the Warriors.
The winger, who is also set to move to Portuguese giants Benfica, has already attracted the interests of former champions CAPS United. Centreback Jimmy Dzingai, who was one of the best players in the domestic Premiership last season, is also another one set to attract a lot of interest.
The towering defender is rated by Warriors coach Sunday “Mhofu’’ Chidzambwa as the best centreback in the country right now. Dennis Dauda, who moved to Yadah Stars mid-season after being dumped by CAPS United, has also been reported to be interested in returning to the Green Machine.
Forward Rodreck Mutuma is another player who is set to attract a lot of interest from a number of clubs in the domestic Premiership. Mutuma scored the goal that eventually guaranteed Yadah’s place in the Premiership against his old club Highlanders at Rufaro.
Interestingly, it was the only goal he scored for the Harare side during his spell there. So far, Yadah Stars were the only league team which were yet to kick-start pre-season programme and have been quiet on the transfer market as other clubs are busy beefing up their squad for the term which commences on March 10.
Most clubs began their preparations this week, with full throttle training programme expected next week after completing medicals. Yesterday, Yadah coach Thomas Ruzive said he was in the dark about when the team will begin their pre-season and was resting at home waiting to be informed of the next step.
Yadah chairman Everson Chatambudza said they will be in a better position to know the club’s status for this season after the Monday meeting. Chatambudza said Prophet Magaya hinted during the Crossover Night on New Year’s Eve that going forward, he was looking at separating the club from the ministry, with the club expected to rely on its own sponsorship.
However, he could not reveal whether that sponsorship had already been secured for the team for the fresh season, which is a month-and-half away. “We are having a management meeting on Monday at the moment. I cannot say it’s going to be business as usual this season or not. “I can only give the correct position on Monday,” said Chatambudza.
The Herald understands that Prophet Magaya has also been struggling to manage the football project as well as they would have wanted. “PHD will be opening a new factory soon and those guys involved in the day-to-day running of the club are already busy with that and so the management are looking at how best they can deal with the soccer club.
“They may just donate it to people who might be interested in running a team in the league. A decision has to be made soon before the season starts,” said the sources. Magaya has said in the past that Yadah Stars were never meant to last forever as a Premiership club.
He said he was more committed to the Warriors than his own football project. Magaya told The Herald in April last year that he was driven by a passion to see the Warriors playing in the World Cup finals and his grand mission in football was to see the country joining the big league of nations at the global showcase.
He revealed he was looking beyond the success of his club, but playing a very influential role in ultimately helping the Warriors grace the World Cup show.
“We missed the last World Cup when I was inactive in football and because of some issues that were beyond my control, but I believe that, maybe, in the next World Cup, I can participate and help my national team qualify for the World Cup,’’ said Magaya.
“Yes, we may not be there in the next few years as a club, but what I know is that my national team will be there and nothing is impossible with God. Even if Yadah FC might not exist in the next few years, or will be existing, I don’t know with God, but my national teams will be there and I want to lift the flag of my country. It’s not about Yadah FC, it’s about Zimbabwe, that’s my main aim.”
Magaya in the past has said he loved the Warriors more than his own Premiership football club Yadah Stars because the country will always come first. He revealed this just after giving the Warriors VVIP treatment at his luxurious Yadah Hotel, where they also used the adjacent ground for their training sessions while he would also take care of the team’s food requirements during their two-week camp.
“I feel that the national team brings unity to the whole country. This is the moment when Highlanders, Dynamos and CAPS United players join hands,’’ said Magaya.
“I have always said Yadah FC can disappear, but the Warriors can never disappear. My passion is not about football, it’s about people and it’s also about my country. It’s an issue of lifting my flag.’’