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Ilanga Provincial Newspapers Sports



ZIFA Central Region Soccer League is a big brand
As the inaugural meeting got underway in the Connemara room at Midlands Hotel, we
anxiously waited downstairs for the ZIFA Central Region Division One’s first press
statement. A new region had just been born and we all believed in the abilities of those who
would be trusted to build the ZIFA Central Region Soccer League into a prestigious football
brand that would grow to dominate local football.
That was 2010, and the Midlands Province and Matabeleland South Province were brought
together to form the ZIFA Central Region Soccer League. It had to take the intervention of
the then big elephant of Zimbabwean football, Musa Mandaza, who was actively involved in
the build up to the creation of this region, which stretched across cities, towns, mines, farms
and rural areas across the mineral rich Great Dyke.
It stretched from Gokwe to Beitbridge thereby giving hope to footballers across the Great
I was not alone at this big event. I exchanged notes with veteran sports journalist, Noel
Munzabwa, the late Lovemore Zigara and several other sports journalists, who were all keen
to cover the historic event. Interestingly, Noel had mentored me at The Times before his
writing skills took him to Zimpapers where he dominated sports news in The Chronicle and
various Zimpapers titles.
Lovemore Zigara had just begun work at The Times where we formed a terrific combination
on the Sports Desk. We all discussed and predicted a prestigious league.
When the press conference finally got underway, we all listened attentively as the inaugural
Chairman Patrick Hokonya confidently foretold the creation of the “Platinum League”. Up to
date I still vividly remember his first statements. “We want to create a 'Platinum League'.
Every club will be eager to join this prestigious league,” said Hokonya as he addressed us
soon after the league's inaugural meeting.
From his address, I could foresee a big football brand that had the potential to dominate local
football. Hokonya had big football brains in his executive that included Felton Kamambo,
Stanley Chapeta, Patrick Hill and veteran coach and Administrator Wellington Ngulube,
among many capable football administrators, who were elected to lead the new league.
True to his words and prediction, on 8 January 2011, the ZIFA Central Region Soccer League
successfully held their AGM and awards ceremony at the Village Lodge. The inaugural
champions FC Platinum, then Mimosa FC walked to the podium to deservedly claim their
silverware. There were numerous awards as the region, in partnership with KAYZED Sales
acknowledged and rewarded top performers. Ironically, in the Sports Reporter of the Year
category, it had to be Noel Munzabwa, Givemore Makonye and the late Lovemore Zigara.

Thirteen years after its inauguration, we need to acknowledge that the “Platinum League's”
inaugural champions FC Platinum have grown to be a football powerhouse that is currently
dominating Zimbabwean football.
We all have seen Shabanie Mine, Chapungu, Whawha, Border Strikers, Nichrut and TelOne
unleashing amazing talent into the domestic leagues and beyond.
All the region needs are honest and generous partners, who share the same vision to build a
“Platinum league” that will dominate local football. The ZIFA Central Region Soccer League
is indeed a big brand that has the potential to help add value to Zimbabwean football.

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