As the Premier Soccer League (PSL) prepares to seal a sponsorship union with Delta Beverages on Friday afternoon through their Castle Lager brand, a 16-team knockout competition is also on the cards for an exciting 2011 season.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s launch, PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said it was his organisation’s desire to have a major competition that would see the winners taking part in the Caf Confederation Cup.
The last 16-team tournament was the CBZ Cup, played in 2006 when Dynamos and Highlanders clashed at Barbourfields Stadium. From 2008 to 2010, the league has depended on the BancABC Sup8r as the main competition, which has been confirmed for this season again.
“It is our determination that we have a 16-team tournament for this season. We are talking to two prospective sponsors and the negotiations are at a higher level. That will become the main competition for the season and the winner will play in Africa.
“It’s going to be a hectic season as the league will kick off with a Charity Shield match that will feature Dynamos, the cup winners, and league winners Motor Action. This will help both teams in their continental campaigns in terms of financial assistance as well as match fitness for their players.
“After the Charity Shield, we want to have the Independence Cup and we would want to be involved in the preparations even if it’s an invitational tournament as that has an effect on the league fixture programme.
“The BancABC Sup8r has been confirmed for another season and after that we would have the 16-team knockout competition. So clubs will likely play at least 40 matches this season as per Fifa recommendations.”
Ndebele also revealed their desire to engage Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) and South Africa’s Supersport on live screening of local league matches.
“I know they (ZBH) have their challenges, but there are other games that we can work together with the national broadcaster and get advertising for the games.
“We also want to hook up with Supersport although
that is still in its infancy, but if we get this one, it can generate some revenue for the clubs. Zambia has already been catered for by Supersport and I hear Mozambique is on their radar, so we need to be working towards that,” Ndebele said.
During the Tapiwa Matangaidze era as PSL chairman and Ndebele as secretary-general, the league managed to get a highlights package on the DSTV channel’s Soccer Africa programme on Thursday nights and that could be a starting point.
The league will hold its annual general meeting on Saturday where they will welcome four clubs, Zimbabwe Saints and Chicken Inn from the Southern Region, FC Platinum from the Central Region and Blue Ribbon from the Northern Region.
Some of the clubs though have not completed their registration processes despite the deadline lapsing last week.
“Not all clubs have put their papers together, but they are tying up some loose ends as the coaches also have a challenge to register 25 players plus five juniors as per the Harare Declaration.
“This is basically to promote youth development. We appreciate that clubs do not have resources to have fully-fledged youth structures, so this is the only chance available for the young players more so with the introduction of the Rookie of the Year award this season.”