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PREMIERSHIP debutants Dongo Sawmill are on the verge of collapse if they don’t get financial injection soon with reports saying club officials are disposing of the franchise for $150 000.Dongo Sawmill, the only Castle Lager Premier Soccer League club yet to register a win in nine outings, take on Tsholotsho FC at White City tomorrow.

The financially-troubled Rusape team are finding the going tough just four months into their maiden dance with the top-flight and anchor the table with just three points.

Founder and director of Dongo Sawmill, Francis Dongo, said the tough economic environment had forced him to put the club on the market.

“Running a Premiership team has proved daunting for a sole owner like myself. Anyone with an offer should come the door is open to everyone. It has been a headache and I think for the good of soccer someone with the means should come aboard. Anyone with at least $150 000 should come and take over,” Dongo said.

In an earlier interview with Chronicle Sport, Dongo had admitted that running the club without partners had been expensive but allayed fears that the Rusape Premiership team will collapse. The club director said even gate takings had failed to cushion the club’s operations as most of the match day generated revenue pays service providers like the local authority, Sports and Recreation Commission and Zifa.

A football administrator who declined to be named said Dongo Sawmill will not be allowed to reinforce the squad or change the name during the course of the season.

“It’s unfortunate that they’re selling the club because of financial challenges but even if they get a new owner, that person will have to maintain the same name and players. They will have to do mid-season transfers within the confines of player movement regulations. They will not be allowed to make wholesome changes,” said the source.

Even if prophet Walter Magaya bankrolled Northern Region Division One side Yadah Gunners are interested in the franchise, they will have to do with Dongo Sawmill’s existing arsenal. There have been g indications that the flamboyant man of God was planning to take over the timber men.

Dongo spoke highly about his players’ attitude and challenged them to bring maximum points to Rusape tomorrow.

“The commitment of my players and the supporters has been awesome and that is what has been keeping the club running. I’ve sacrificed a lot to make sure that we reach this stage and will do everything possible to make sure we fulfil our games. The only demand I have is for the players to go to Bulawayo and bring maximum points against Tsholotsho. We are facing a side that is in its first Premiership season like us and the boys have assured me that they will bring home maximum points.”

However, Dongo Sawmill should brace for a tough encounter as Tsholotsho are not pushovers and after going for a couple of games without winning, the Zhwane Boys will certainly give them a good run for their money.

Just like Tsholotsho, Dongo Sawmill are using players who won them promotion into the topflight. Former Premiership Soccer Star of the Year Evans Chikwaikwai is the only player at Dongo Sawmill with top-flight experience. They will be without suspended Kelvin Katandika in their hunt for first set of points in three outings.

Tsholotsho have not picked points in their last three matches, consecutively losing to FC Platinum, Chapungu and How Mine.

The Zhwane Boys will be without national team defensive midfielder Gerald Takwara who will be representing Zimbabwe at the Cosafa Cup in South Africa.

Holding midfielder Butholezwe Ncube is likely to play with Kries Chitiyo in central midfield with Godfrey Gorogodyo and Qaphelani Ndebele deployed at the wings.

Lynoth Chikuhwa, Kudzi Machazane and skipper William Stima will compete for striking positions.

Goalkeeper Mariyoni Chang has impressively been commanding his back four made up of Ricky Bota, MacClive Phiri, Thandolwenkosi Ncube and Donald Dzvinyu.

Despite going for three games without a win or a goal, Tsholotsho FC coach Lizwe Sweswe says his charges will rediscover their winning touch.

“We are not panicking at all. What we need is to encourage the youngsters we have in our team not to lose hope. We’re good but what has been letting us down is that we’re not taking up our chances,” Sweswe said.

Source : The Herald