HomeSportSoccerSouthern Region lands 16-team knockout tourney

Southern Region lands 16-team knockout tourney

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A 16-team cup competition is on the cards in the Zifa Buscod Southern Region Division One Soccer League, a senior official has revealed.

Zifa Southern Region chairman Gift Banda yesterday confirmed the tournament to involve all teams in the league is on, although he could not be drawn into revealing the nitty-gritties of the competition.

Banda was speaking to NewsDay Sport on Tuesday as the first half of the season drew to an end at the weekend.

“We are having a 16-team cup tournament in the league. We are not going to have a break in the season as we try to squeeze in the competition. We don’t want to be better than everyone but we want everybody to be better than yesterday at the end of the day,” Banda said.

The Southern Region chairman said the first half of the season had run smoothly with a few challenges.

“The league was a hot spot when we started, with a lot of grumbling but we have managed to handle business in a far better way. Fixture adherence was perfect. We had no walkovers. We would like to take time to salute the referees as we have not been getting a lot of complaints. It is a good sign that the referees are doing a wonderful job. We want the league to be won on the field of play,” Banda said.

Banda said that was one of the reasons why the league has been lenient with clubs who have not fully paid their affiliation fees.

“When we came in, there was a bit of resistance from the clubs but we are now getting the respect. We have been lenient with some clubs, because most of their excuses are genuine and we appreciate their grievances. We incurred costs with lawyers at the beginning and it was clubs who put the association into the red and we had to come up with that budget. It is folly to then wake up in the morning and say affiliation fees are too high. We have a very open door policy when it comes to the budget. We do not come up with figures from the moon. That is why they (the clubs) agreed,” Banda said.

He said he was happy the league presently does not have any financial obligations to anyone and was hopeful the affiliation fees would be lowered next season.

“At the moment, we do not owe anyone. We do not have any financial obligations and there is a likelihood of a massive drop in affiliation fees next year. Teams should not take football matters to court. We run football matters on their behalf, so they must come to us,” Banda said.

He said Zifa Southern Region was negotiating with PPC Cement for partnership and development of the league’s offices.

The Zifa Southern Region chairman hoped for continued support from Buscod Supermarkets and appealed to the media for adequate coverage of the league.

“We have won the hearts of many and we are looking forward to good times ahead,” Banda said.

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