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SEVERAL Division One and relegated Premiership soccer clubs are after the Nyanga outfit Dongo Sawmills’ franchise but the club president Francis Dongo has maintained that his team is not for sale.

The Nyanga outfit, which was also known as Buffaloes Junior owing to the g links between the team and Mutare army side Buffaloes, attained Premiership promotion in style when they became the first team to win the Eastern Region Division One title after spending only one season in one of the country’s four second tier league.

Dongo — who were using and will continue using Vengere Stadium in Rusape as their home ground owing to lack of sound sporting structures in the resort town of Nyanga — secured a ticket to partake in the 2015 Castle Lager Premiership, thanks to a 3-1 triumph over lowly Mwenezana on Sunday during the final round of league matches of the Eastern Region Division One League.

However, an elated Francis Dongo set the record straight as he rubbished claims that he will soon sell the franchise.

The Nyanga businessman said he is now focusing on mobilising support from all stakeholders in Rusape in assembling a project that truly identifies with the residents of the small Makoni district capital.

“It is always common in humankind to hear baseless accusations taking centre stage whenever one is on the verge of achieving something big. Allegations that we hatched a plan to sell the franchise are not only baseless, malicious and mischievous but are also frivolous. We were aware that it was part of some dirty mind games meant to disrupt our focus and attention from the important aim of winning the league title.

“Let me state it categorically clear that we have no intention of selling our franchise. It is a bonafide people’s project meant for sports entertainment in Rusape since we do not have a proper match venue in Nyanga. We will continue treating it as such. There is no way we can betray the people who have rallied behind us including our respected colleagues at Three Brigade,” said Dongo.

Dongo confirmed that there have been some inquiries from several teams that wanted to acquire their franchise but were turned down.

“Yes, a number of teams, including those that were relegated from the Premiership, wanted to buy our franchise but we did not accept any offers. For the record, some of us get nothing from football hence we are not in football to get any financial gains. It is a passion for the game,” he said.

Although records from the other three regions were not readily available at the time of going to Press, Zifa Eastern Region general manager Tedious Machawira confirmed that Dongo Sawmills has achieved what no other team managed to achieve in one season since the formation of the Eastern Region.

As if that was not enough, their coach Shadreck “Father” Mugurasave, who was overlooked for the Buffaloes’ head coach position after guiding the Mutare army side from Division One to the Premiership, wrote his own piece of history as he once again led another outfit to the Promised Land.

From humble beginnings as a Nyanga based social soccer outfit, playing simply to entertain the disabled at Zimbabwe National Army’s Tsanga Lodge, the team developed and formally joined NyangaRusape Division Three before later joining Division Two.

All the way with the financial support of Dongo, the team later joined Division One but will now compete against the best in the game on the domestic scene next season under the Dongo Sawmills brand using Vengere stadium as their home ground simply because Nyanga does not have a proper match venue.

Zifa Eastern Region chairman Piraishe Mabhena congratulated Dongo Sawmills and confirmed that the team is registered in the name of Dongo Sawmills hence the decision on how to use their Premiership franchise solely lies with Dongo himself.

“We really want to congratulate Dongo Sawmills for attaining Premiership promotion. We have no doubt that they will compete well in the Premiership and help market the name of the region.

“We are also aware of the confusion that had been created by the use of the name Buffalo Junior. We understand that there was once a partnership with the army side Buffaloes but the team belongs to Dongo Sawmills which is owned by Francis Dongo. In fact we are informed that they will be using the name Dongo Sawmills when the 2015 Premiership season gets underway,” said Mabhena.

Source : The Herald