HomeSportSoccerPSL season kicks off March 7

PSL season kicks off March 7

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THE 2015 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League will kick off on March 7 as defending champions Dynamos begin their quest for an unprecedented fifth title in a row.

WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

This will be a week after FC Platinum will have played Sofapaka of Kenya in the second leg, preliminary round of the Caf Confederation Cup at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane. The first leg will be played at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi on February 13.

The PSL secretariat is finalising fixtures for the season which will be released shortly once the Zifa/PSL grounds committee completes the inspection of match venues for all the 16 teams, with the teething problem being that of newly promoted Tsholotsho Football Club.

There is no match venue that meets the standard of the league and Tsholotsho, one of the four promoted teams alongside Hwahwa, Flame Lily and Dongo Sawmills, could opt for the Colliery in Hwange or the much closer White City Stadium in Bulawayo.

Hwahwa will play at Ascot Stadium in Gweru, Dongo will be based at Vhengere Stadium in Rusape while Flame Lily has choices in the National Sports Stadium, Rufaro, Gwanzura and Larfage in Harare.

PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said there will be a two week break in July and the league is expected to finish at the end of November to facilitate the registration of teams in the Caf inter-club competitions, whose deadline is November 30.

“We want to start in the first week of March, that is March 7 after FC Platinum will have played their second leg match so that we avoid starting off with a postponement. The calendar has to fall in line with that of Zifa.

“There will be a two week break in the first two weeks of July and then we will run until the end of November for the registration of teams in Caf competitions.

“We would have loved to finish in December since a lot of people will be coming in for the holidays and would love an opportunity to watch some local action, but we are mindful of the fact that there are deadlines at Caf,” Ndebele said.

Last year, the league’s broadcast partners SuperSport said they also wanted to see some matches being played in Zimbabwe in December.

“We are still consulting with all our stakeholders for a smooth season so that everything that we do is agreed before the season starts. You might have realised that last year, we had two competitions during the course of the season that were not on the calendar.

“We feel that running two cup competitions at the same time does not give the sponsors enough mileage. The sponsors also have their own material and programmes that they want to run during the course of the competition and we should take it one at a time.

“During the season, we want to be implementing the decisions of the board and nothing else,” the PSL boss said.

On cup competitions, he said: “So far, we have the Chibuku Super Cup while we are talking to sponsors on the other competitions for the year.”

The Mbada Diamonds Cup was supposed to be the season opener, valued at $250 000, but the company is yet to confirm the dates. This year’s competition, if it eventually takes off, will involved four teams-two time winners Dynamos, ZPC Kariba, Caps United and FC Platinum.

The other cup competition that is waiting for confirmation is the One Wallet Cup for the top eight only, sponsored by Net One, but the current deal with the PSL expires next season having been signed last year.

Triangle were the inaugural winners of the competition last season after beating Dynamos on penalties in the final, but will not be able to defend their cup as they finished in 9th place.

The teams that qualified for the One Wallet Cup are Dynamos, ZPC Kariba, Caps United, FC Platinum, Highlanders, Chicken Inn, Hwange and How Mine.

The PSL Annual General Meeting-a gathering of all club presidents/chairpersons, will take place a week before the scheduled kick off of the league where the annual budgets and rules and regulations will be discussed and endorsed.

Clubs are also expected to take part in the Caf/Zifa Club Licensing workshop before the start of the season.

There has been high activity in the league since last December when the league ended as giants-Dynamos and Highlanders all appointed new coaches before the year ended. Dynamos have brought back David Mandigora while Bongani Mafu assumed the hot seat at Bosso.

Harare City appointed Taurai Mangwiro, who was previously at Caps United while the Green Machine responded by hiring Englishman Mark Harrison.

Triangle will also have a foreign coach in former Bosso boss Kelvin Kaindu, who will be deputised by the former head in the lowveld honcho Biggie Zuze.

The rest of the teams maintained their coaches: Platinum (Norman Mapeza), ZPC Kariba (Saul Chaminuka), Chicken Inn (Joey Antipas), Hwange (Nation Dube), Buffaloes (Moses Chunga) and How Mine (Luke Masomere). Chapungu retained John Nyikadzino but appointed Jairos Tapera as technical manager.

Newcomers Tsholotsho have Lizwe Sweswe, Hwahwa have Luke Petros although Lloyd Mutasa could still take over while Dongo are under Shadreck Magurasave.

On player activity, Highlanders and Dynamos have released most of their senior players opting for juniors while Platinum-despite their financial capability have maintained basically last year’s squad.

City have been on a spending spree buying Tafadzwa Dube, Themba Ndlovu, Lincoln Zvasiya and Tendayi Samanja while How Mine have snatched the former Dynamos trio of Tawanda Muparati, Benjamin Marere and Devon Chafa and former Bosso goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya.

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