By Monday morning there was chaos in the Warriors camp that emanated from the Premier Soccer League’s ill-advised and shocking decision to force through a full programme between today and tomorrow as well as another round of matches on Saturday and Sunday.
It wasn’t clear when or if Warriors coach Joey Antipas would be available for the national team considering that his team Chicken Inn were adamant they would only release their coach after today’s league match against Mushowani Stars.
One can easily understand Chicken Inn’s position and thinking. They are well engrossed in a tight title race and can ill-afford to drop any points at any stage until the end of the season and, therefore, need their chief tactician every step of the way.
Highlanders were also holding on to their prized possession — Prince Dube who has been their main source of goals.
Bosso are not yet out of danger in terms of the relegation matrix. They felt they needed their talisman in the match against Ngezi which will be played today.
The Bulawayo giants had suggested that they hold on to Dube until Thursday morning, a day before the Warriors host Botswana in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
There was also uncertainty over Warriors assistant coach Lloyd Chitembwe’s availability
considering too that his relegation-haunted side has two important matches between Wednesday and Sunday. All the confusion and unnecessary chaos was caused by a decision at the PSL offices to squeeze in two rounds of matches during a Fifa international break.
This international break did not suddenly arrive. These dates were reserved for international matches well before PSL even drew up the 2019 fixtures.
Why then should the PSL sit down and decide to congest an international week where the Warriors will play two important qualifiers with two rounds of matches? Doesn’t this reek of sabotage?
Why should the national team risk getting compromised by a set of matches that could have been played earlier or could still be rescheduled on another date? We feel the PSL is trying to pick up unnecessary fights with Zifa. The world over, domestic leagues have been put on ice to accommodate the national team.
We know the PSL are running behind schedule, but that is not Zifa or the Warriors’ problem. The PSL programme entertains us week-in and week-out. Football fans are enjoying the enthralling entertainment that is being provided both by the relegation fight and the tussle for the title.
But when it’s an international break and when the Warriors have such important engagements, let’s give them the room to prepare well.
These power struggles between the PSL and Zifa should not manifest in such important occasions and risk the Warriors’ success.