A RAY of light has filtered through the dark cloud which has been hanging over Prisons FC since they were kicked out of the ZIFA Northern Region Division One League.
The former Premiership side, formerly known as Flame Lily, won the right to play in the second-tier league after finishing first in their Division Two campaign last year.
However, the Harare side were thrown out of Division One, and replaced by Golden Eagles, who had finished second, after authorities said they had failed to pay their affiliation fees in time.
However, Prisons argued it was unfair to throw them out just days after they had deposited $8 700 into the league’s coffers.
The club, who have employed a number of footballers who are now working with the country’s Prisons and Correctional Services, also argue they have contributed immensely to the industry of the game through giving their players and coaching staff secure jobs.
They claim they were given a raw deal, especially after paying a chunk of their subscription fees, and committing themselves to clearing the remaining chunk, within the shortest possible period of time.
The club leaders also questioned why the Division One leadership appeared desperate to kick them out, at a time when football has been on hold throughout the country, because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
They also claimed there appear to be a deliberate attempt to push clubs, especially those from the police and the prison services, out of the domestic football system despite those teams employing hundreds of players and officials who are taking care of scores of families around the country.
Tenax and Whawha, who have links to the Prisons and Correctional Services, were almost denied a place in the PSL after they struggled to pay their affiliation fees.
However, the PSL leaders, after taking into account the number of families directly benefiting from the two clubs, and that football was on a break, chose to throw the teams a lifeline and, in the end, both settled their dues.
And, their spirited fight appears to be bearing fruit after they were allowed to lodge an appeal against the decision to kick them out.
“We refer to your appeal letter, dated 12 June 2020, which was emailed to us on 24 June 2020 and is noted,’’ the league wrote to Prisons FC chairman, Tendayi “Zulu’’ Chaponda, last week.
“Please be advised that we have submitted your appeal to the Disciplinary Committee and, for them to convene and hear your case, you need to pay $30 000 appeal fee.
“May you proceed to deposit the money in the ZIFA Northern Region bank account on or before 24 July 2020. Once the payment is received, you will be notified of the date for the hearing.’’
It’s a massive psychological victory for Prisons FC who are desperate to ensure they play in Division One this season.