The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has rated Zimbabwe the 12th best league on the continent, giving the country two slots each in the 2011 editions of the Orange Champions League and the Confederation Cup.
This is basically because of the exploits of Harare giants Dynamos who have managed to reach the final once and the mini — league phase on the occasions they have participated, plus Monomotapa’s mazy run in their debut in 2009.
In terms of player material, Zimbabwe has provided the best in the region-leaving out Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari.
South Africa, for instance, has benefited from Zimbabwe’s immense talent with giants-Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs having a number of players in their books.
Sundowns, also a former home to Ndlovu, is captained by former AmaZulu linkman Esrom Nyandoro and has the former Caps United trio of Method Mwanjali, Lionel Mtizwa and Nyasha Mushekwi.
Chiefs recruited hitman Knowledge Musona, Zhaimu Jambo, Thomas Sweswe and “The General”, Tinashe Nengomasha while Pirates have Zvenyika Makonese.
In terms of sponsorship, South Africa has the richest league on the continent as they are sponsored by major bank Absa while they have four cup competitions in the premier Nedbank Cup, the MTN8, the Telkom Knockout and the Telkom Charity Shield, all running into millions of rands.
But for the Zimbabwe Premiership it’s all doom and gloom as the season has ended without a sponsor despite promises from the Twine Phiri-led board of governors that they will deliver before the season ends.
Television rights are known to power all clubs in the professional leagues across the world. Recently, National First Division (NDF) clubs in South Africa received a R50 000 monthly increase in their grant money but it is still less than 20% of what the PSL clubs get every month as their share of the television and marketing revenue.
The 16 top-flight teams are paid R1,03 million per month while the NFD clubs now get R250 000 monthly. The League, however, pays for all the travel of the NFD clubs, but does not do so for the PSL teams.
In the new season, it is planned to continue footing the travel and accommodation bill for clubs in the second tier. Selwyn van Wyk, who has been working as the League’s chief accountant, is to be appointed as administrator of the League, something which is lacking in local football.
In a recent interview with NewsDay, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube said they were working towards ensuring that the four Division One leagues in the country have sponsorship next season,.
But what has been the major bottleneck? Perhaps, a change of leadership has not helped issues here?
Perhaps it was too early for Tapiwa Matangaidze to leave the league for the troublesome Zifa office? Again, perhaps, it was too early to dispense with the management committee and have a board of governors in place?
Some clubs are already pushing for the dissolution of this board, which will mean an amendment to the constitution and ratification from the Zifa Assembly.
If one goes further back, one would see that the way Econet and Chris Sambo, then the PSL chief executive, were kicked out of football left a lot to be desired.
Econet committed no crime against anyone then; they saved the most popular sport in the country but came unstuck because they run their business on business (and not political) lines.
For Sambo, there was a supposed golden handshake from Econet which no one was able to prove was illegal. Matangaidze came in with CBZ Holdings, Nestlé Zimbabwe and BancABC, with an able office run by Fifa instructor Kenny Ndebele as secretary-general and Oliver Manyau as treasurer and things went smoothly until he (Matangaidze) decided to abandon ship at crucial stage.
The trio tried their best to get clubs to receive television rights from ZBC and a deal with Supersport had been achieved — all that is water under the bridge.
And the game is back to square one — no league sponsorship, no charity cup, no knockout tournament as we head towards 2011.
The world over football is run through television rights.
On November 15, Supersport International and the Zambian Premier League agreed a three year $2,5 million deal to screen live matches, which guarantees grants to clubs while mobile telecommunications giant MTN will be the league’s official sponsor next season.
In Kenya, the league and Supersport signed a four year $13,5 million deal in 2008 which was due to expire at the end of next season, but has already been renewed in July and will now expire in 2015.