Bikita Minerals clinch premiership promotion following boardroom decision


MUTARE – Bikita Minerals have secured their promotion to the Castle Lager Premiership, Zimbabwe's top-flight soccer league, after being awarded three points from their final match of the season against Grayham FC. The decision was made by the Eastern Region Soccer League (ERSL) board, which found that Grayham FC had fielded an ineligible player.

Bikita Minerals promoted to Zimbabwe premiership
Image credit: Bikita Sinomine Group/X

The player in question was Calvin Tinashe Chiwere, a 32-year-old who was using the licence of Munyaradzi Machipisa, a 22-year-old. 

The ERSL board said there was “overwhelming evidence” of the offence and applied Rule 13.1 Paragraph B, which states that a team that uses an ineligible player will have three points deducted, pay a fine, and forfeit the match to the opponents.

Simba Wisdom, the ERSL vice chairman, confirmed the latest development in a statement. 

He said: “We deliberated on the matter between Bikita Minerals and Grayham FC on Saturday here in Mutare. As the outcome of the deliberations, we discovered that indeed Grayham FC used an ineligible player. 

“The player in question is Calvin Tinashe Chiwere who was using Munyaradzi Machipisa’s licence. He is a 32-year old player who was using a 22-year old player’s licence. There was overwhelming evidence. 

“Therefore, according to Rule 13.1 Paragraph B it says if a club uses an ineligible player and the issue is raised during inspection the team using the ineligible player gets three points docked from them, a fine is imposed while the opponents gets maximum points. 

“This is the reason we gave Bikita Minerals three points. Technically, Bikita Minerals now have 60 points and Tenax have 59. Bikita Minerals are the 2023 Eastern Region champions.”

Wisdom also said that Chiwere had been suspended for six months, while Bikita Minerals had been fined US$2 000 for assaulting referees in the same match. 

Grayham FC had also been fined US$1 000, he added.

The boardroom decision means that Bikita Minerals, who are based in the lithium-rich district of Bikita in Masvingo province, now join Arenel, Chegutu Pirates, and TelOne from the country's second-tier leagues to complete the list of promoted teams for the 2024 Zimbabwe Castle Lager Premiership season.

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