By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
The outcry over Council’s funding of Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit, Harare City FC, might have been finally heard following revelations by Harare Mayor, Herbert Gomba that it will be ending this season.
City Council has been under fire for spending thousands of dollars on Harare City Football Club and other sporting teams while neglecting critical service delivery but in his State of the City Address (SOCA) on Tuesday, Councillor Herbert Gomba revealed that this was coming to an end.
“While it is important for the Council to promote the development of sport, it is also imperative that we look at the urgent priorities for the City.
“The teams need to grow and be weaned off from the Council budget hence will be stopping funding football this season and the leadership of the team needs now to start finding sponsorship elsewhere,” said Mayor Gomba.
Harare City Football Club popularly known as the ‘Sunshine Boys’ has been one of the lucrative clubs in Zimbabwe and recently set tongues wagging after revelations that new coach Lloyd Chitembwe is being paid a monthly salary of ZWL$20 000 after-tax.
Chitembwe, who crossed over from Caps United, was also allegedly getting at least 200 litres of fuel per week, a residential stand in upmarket Borrowdale and a winning bonus of ZWL$3 500 a match.
His two assistants Nelson Matongorere and Fungai ‘Tostao’ Kwashi allegedly get a monthly salary of ZWL$8 000 each.
Two years ago, former Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni revealed that the football club gobbled $6 million in ratepayers’ money to finance their campaign in the top-flight league.
Manyenyeni was vocal in criticising the spending of millions of dollars on football while turning a blind eye on service delivery but said it was an uphill task since top council executives and councillors were benefitting from it.
Harare City Football club also boasts of developmental sides whose technical staff is also believed to be entitled to hefty salaries.
Besides soccer, Harare City Council also sponsors volleyball, netball, and basketball of which have all been cited as constraining the city’s budget.