Sports

Local Soccer Game Is Back

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By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa

Premier Soccer League (PSL) has indicated that the country’s long-awaited local league is set to kickstart after one year of no football activities due to Covid-19 pandemic and teams will be play in a cluster competition.

The PSL Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Ndebele confirmed in a statement.

According to Ndebele, the reason why PSL has decided to place the domestic league under geographical grouping is to try and minimise the costs since clubs are not generating any income.

“Clubs have not been generating revenue for the past 12 months. There will be need to minimize costs of match related costs such as transport costs, accommodation and travelling allowances,” reads the statement.

The local football mother body also revealed that the games will be played behind closed doors, though there are in the process of negotiating with a number of television broadcasters to livestream the games on internet.

“Clubs will not be generating revenue as matches will be played behind closed doors. The PSL will be negotiating with several Television Broadcasters to live stream matches. This will bring revenue to Clubs,” Ndebele said.

Furthermore, PSL stressed that clubs will be placed into 4 groups that will play a round robin competition over a period of 6-8 weeks.

“The teams shall play a round robin competition over a period of 6/8 weeks. Top teams from respective groups to proceed to the semi-finals. The winners to meet in the final match to be staged at a venue to be agreed with the sponsors,” the PSL indicated.

The round robin tournament will see teams from the same geographical area playing together.

This will help to ensure that the resumption of football in the country is safe from the pandemic, since they won’t be intercity travel.

“The Premier Soccer League consists of 18 Football Clubs dotted across the country. To restart football safely, a competition has to be introduced where intercity or long-distance travelling is minimized for purposes of reducing the spread of the Covid-19 virus as well as cutting costs. Clubs shall be responsible for the upkeep and camping of their football club during the competition.

The football association officially published the list of clubs that will participate in the 2021 PSL season given that they meet the demands required by the body, since each team is obliged to pay a subscription fee of USD$2500 before 28 March.

However, dates for the games to commence were not revealed but venues for the games were mentioned.

“A number of Stadia may not meet the minimum requirements to host PSL
matches in the “new normal”. The matches will be hosted at the following
Stadia;
✓ National Sports Stadium
✓ Sakubva Stadium
✓ Mandava Stadium
✓ Barbourfields Stadium
✓ Baobab Stadium and Morris Depot may be used as
alternative venues.

The selected four Stadia have the capacity to host competition matches,” reads the PSL statement.

Meanwhile, group 1 consists of 6 teams from Harare namely; Caps United FC, Dynamos FC, Harare City FC, Herentals FC, Yadah FC and ZPC Kariba FC.

Group 2 comprise of 4 teams from the second capital city (Bulawayo). Bulawayo Chiefs FC, Bulawayo City FC, Chicken Inn FC and Highlanders FC.

While group 3 will see teams from Mutare facing off, Black Rhinos FC, debutants Cranborne Bullets FC, Manica Diamonds FC and newly promoted Tenax FC.

In group 4 there are 4 teams from Zvishavane namely reigning champions FC Platinum, Ngezi Platinum Stars FC, Triangle United FC and Whawha FC.

Moreover, PSL emphasised that clubs should ensure the Sports and Recreation Commission, government and World Health Organisation Covid-19 protocols are observed.

Each team has been required to submit their club doctors who will be responsible the testing and implementation of the protocols.

 

Robert Tapfumaneyi

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