A DOWNPOUR of misery is ever falling on Hwange Football Club with the Castle Lager Premiership outfit’s players reportedly made to share four rooms and forced to carry own blankets to camp.
This is a new law for a team sponsored by one of the country’s biggest coal miners Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL).
Players and officials are said to be carrying cushions and blankets something that is unusual when teams go to camp. However, inside sources in the club said they do so to avert disappointment in the event of cold weather spells.
This came to light last weekend when Hwange had a sleep-over in Bulawayo ahead of their clash with Caps United in the capital.
A source said Chipangano made use of HCCL’s house located in Bulawayo’s leafy suburb of Killarney enroute to Harare where the details of the camping standards emerged.
“The players usually share four rooms at the house when they do happen to sleep over in Bulawayo. The carrying of the blankets, which they get from Hwange Guest Lodge, is meant to avert disappointment in the event of cold weather. Ahead of their game against Caps United, Hwange had a sleep over in Bulawayo and made use of the company house,” said a source.
Never in the team or company’s history has this happened as the team used to camp at upmarket lodges and hotels.
“Things are tight but we are very much grateful that our company is assisting us. It’s true that we had a sleep-over at one of our company houses in Bulawayo. It’s a beautiful place that can accommodate more than 50 people. There are enough blankets at the company house which also has an ideal kitchen,” said Hwange club administrator Khumbulani Mbano.
Meanwhile, Hwange’s dire financial position was heard at the recently held PSL symposium in Victoria Falls.
“We are suffering, if it were not for the love of sport, we were going to abandon ship midway,” lamented Mbano.
“We are sacrificing because sport is in our blood, we talk to the players. Even if they know they are not getting what they are supposed to get, they are beginning to understand. Hwange Colliery has been chipping in, we have some local businessmen who are trying to help us survive this tide. Imagine, we need about 400 litres whenever we are going to Harare for example, but look what’s happening to the prices of fuel,” said Mbano.
Chipangano are not the only team in the topflight league that is having camping challenges.
Highlanders, who have NetOne as their principal sponsors, have abandoned going into camp a day before their home matches in what was said be one of their cost cutting measures.
Newbies Mushowani Stars are on the brink of collapse,and it is quite likely they may not feature next season.
Relegation-threatened Bulawayo Chiefs, one of the individually owned teams in the league, have also been hit hard.
Although club spokesman Thulani Sibanda said it was not in their DNA to give up, Amakhosi are battling to make ends meet.
“We don’t have a 45-seater coach to travel on, but we have to make do with what we have in order to fulfil our fixtures. While it is not smooth, we will not give up. We haven’t been spared by the obtaining situation,” Sibanda said.