By Takudzwa Chitsiga
RELEGATED Harare City are now bracing for life in the ZIFA Northern Region Division One while exploring options for a swap deal for their Under-19 side.
The Sunshine Boys had a developmental squad that was playing in the Division One last year.
But following their demotion from the top-flight, they have found themselves with two franchises in the same league, a situation that is untenable in the game.
But instead of completely disposing their Under-19 side, City have indicated they would want to continue with their thrust to also develop the game through providing a platform for young players to excel.
Harare City Council spokesman Michael Chideme said they were now looking at a possibility of swapping their second berth in Division One with any of the Division Two sides that are aspiring to play in the second tier league.
There are indications that army side Commando Bullets might be willing to strike a deal with the Sunshine Boys.
“We are definitely not going to sell the franchise of Harare City Cubs.
“Our Under-19 side remains an important component for us and we are now trying to negotiate for a swap with a Division Two club that might want to play in Division One in 2018 but we cannot have two franchises in the same league.
“Even if they go into Division Two the Cubs remains a developmental side and they will still execute their mandate in terms of the vision that we have,” Chideme said.
Harare City dropped to Division One together with Bantu Rovers, Tsholotsho and Hwange at the end of the 2017 Premiership season.
That failure to remain in the elite league also cost outspoken coach Philani ‘Beefy’ Ncube his job.
City are however, yet to finalise on the set up of their technical department for 2018 which is expected to quickly steer the ship back into the Premiership.
They do have a number of coaches on their books including Englishman Mark Harrison, Mkhuphali Masuku and Elvis Chiweshe.
Meanwhile, newly promoted Beta 11 are confident they will withstand the heat in Division One this year.
Club secretary-general Godfrey Chikwende said they boast of some quality and energetic players who are a mixture of youth and experience.
“We have a very good side that has a mixture of youth and experience which I believe will take us far. We are not only looking at surviving relegation in our first season but to challenge for honours.
“The good thing is we are backed by a financially sound sponsor in Beta Bricks who have the capacity to take the team all the way to the championship. In terms of the venues we are still to decide if we can use Dzivarasekwa or Afdis,” said Chikwende.