LOSING a couple of good players in one-year-and-a-half is bad enough for a football club but losing over a dozen athletes with no immediate replacements can be summed up as a “catastrophe”.
That’s exactly what one Gweru-based club — Chipembere Queens — went through after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
From a squad of about 25 senior team players, more than half have left the club, forcing the side to embark on an overhaul of the team.
Chipembere Queens compete in the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League, the country’s top women football league, after gaining promotion from the Central Region in 2019.
Other promoted teams include Barrow Jets from the Southern Region and Quincy Academy Queens from the Eastern Region, while the fourth team from the Northern Region was still outstanding.
“We lost almost the entire team since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the players moved to South Africa and others simply quit as we were unable to pay them so we will be holding trials from next week to beef up the squad,” said club official Brightwell Kadenge.
The depleted Chipembere Queens club is now left with just 10 players — all school girls.
“We lost seasoned players so it’s imperative that we get about 15 more players to add depth to the new squad. Players coming from outside Gweru must be between 15 and 25 years old while those from within the city must be from nine to 25 years old.
“The trials will be held from Monday next week at Mkoba Stadium,” he said.
There is confusion within the Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League ranks on the number of teams that will compete in the 2021 season.
The league has decided to have a 16-member league from the traditional 12 teams, which they had decided before football went into lockdown last year.
According to minutes from the 2020 annual meeting held at the end of February before football went into lockdown, it was agreed that the clubs should maintain a 12-team league.
It remains to be seen how the thorny issue will be resolved before the new season kicks off before the end of the year.