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ZIFA Northern Region Division One returnees Black Rhinos have ruled out releasing most of their players as they have set their sights on a possible quick return to the Premiership.

The army side had been rumoured to be facing a player exodus after their relegation to the World Navi Northern Region Division One League but the soldiers insisted that they would retain the bulk of their squad as they seek to combine youth and experience.

Black Rhinos were one of four teams demoted from the top-flight together with Shabanie Mine, Chiredzi and Bantu Rovers.

Shabanie will contest in the Central Region, Chiredzi — if they are still intact — are in the Eastern Region while Methembe Ndlovu’s youthful Bantu Rovers project will compete in the Southern Region.

Rhinos who have such players like striker Lot Chiwunga and midfielder Wonder Kapinda who have previously played for the Warriors are keen to make their stay in the Northern Region Division One as brief as possible and is against this background that the soldiers are not going to make wholesale changes to their squad.

Club secretary Wellington Mabiginye however, said they will be open to negotiations for some of their players.

“We are ready to release at least three players but not many as we seek to return to the Premier League in 2016.

“There is a lot of speculation going on but we are only negotiating with three players whose contracts came to an end this month.

“We are likely to come to the table with Reuben Machaya, Simon Choyenda and Steven Matsangaise whose contracts will lapse this month,” Mabiginye said.

The Black Rhinos secretary also said they are not going to lose their technical team lead by Jostein Mathuthu.

Mathuthu whose contract will expire on December 31 said he is willing to take back the team to the top flight.

The experienced coach took charge of the team when it was already on a tight position and managed to win several matches which gave the team hope but lost it in the final stages.

Mathuthu took charge of the team in the second half of the season after they had faced challenges under the guidance of Arthur Tutani who ended up coaching Northern Region Division One outfit Blue Swallows.

Source : The Herald