Rashiwe Murisa Sports Reporter
TELONE head coach Joel Lupahla believes his side has the capacity to compete in their debut season in the Premier Soccer League which commences in March. The Wi-Fi boys gained promotion after winning the Central Region Division One championship ahead of army side Tongogara, who have since been banned for two seasons on disciplinary grounds.
The team finished the season on 44 points to join Eastern Region’s Manica Diamonds, Mushowani Stars from the Northern Region and Hwange, who were the Southern Regions champions, into the elite league.
However, the newboys are not likely to go out of their way to boost their squad like what has been happening with their peers Manica Diamonds.
Lupahla revealed that his team will be using Ascot stadium as their home ground for Premier League games.
“We are using Ascot Stadium but we are training at Zim Alloys for the pre-season preparations. Our boys need to be fit for the season. We understand that there is stiff competition and most of our boys don’t have Premier League experience so we need to work extra hard,” he said.
The former Highlanders and Warriors winger hopes to avoid relegation in their debutant season and stay in the Premier League for long. “My target is to stay in the Premier League and groom more youngsters. I hope to get at least two or three players from the national Under-20 team that was in Zambia for the COSAFA CUP late last year because I believe in nurturing young talent,’’ added Lupahla.
Despite losing midfielder Pride Zivengwa to giants CAPS Utd, the Gweru-based side are not going to take on board big names as they are operating on a limited budget. “We are working with a minimal budget so we may not contract new players for the coming season. However, we are confident with our old players because they steered the ship into the Premier League. They will be competitive,” he said.