ZIMBABWE’S home based footballers are set for a further and probably lengthy period on the sidelines after Zifa turned down the government’s proposed road map to the resumption of football at competitive level.
by KEVIN MAPASURE
The government proposed a Premier Soccer League tournament initially contested in a mini league format in different parts of the country before regional winners met for the semi-final and the finals.
All matches would have been played in a bio-bubble to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus. But Zifa have since shot the idea down, despite having appeared to have warmed up to it earlier and are now working towards the resumption of football at all levels in March.
Zifa’s proposal now faces resistance from the government, who insist that football should only be played in a controlled environment, which brings up the bio-buddle concept that Zifa cannot fully fund.
SRC board member Nigel Munyati said that by turning down the government proposed road map, Zifa will only delay the return of competitive action since government will insist on starting with the topflight in a controlled environment before cascading to the lower leagues.
Last week, Zifa wrote to its affiliates proposing that they start training on January 4 to prepare for the resumption of competitive action during the first week of March.
“The minister (Kirsty Coventry) was very concerned that we were going towards the end of the year (and) there were no tangible efforts to resume football. So the minister came to us and asked for ideas on how we could implement the resumption of football,” Munyati said. “That is how the mini league and the bubble concept came about. So we consulted and spoke to various stakeholders in football and the idea was that we would cascade it. We start with the main league which is the PSL and see how we can resume PSL in a managed and safe environment. There was no way we could say Zifa everyone can start playing football, so we asked them to work with us in this proposal which they agreed to and were actually going to implement. PSL was very happy, I can tell you that today.”
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He said that Zifa made a surprise U-turn having initially agreed to the proposal.
“For some reason, Zifa despite us being in meetings with the minister where they also agreed to the concept, they now seem to feel that it wasn’t the right approach and they are now calling it elitist. So what we had hoped that after we had resumed PSL the next level would have been Division One, so since we didn’t do that it means come next year, we are going to have to do something that follows the same steps and all it does is further delay the resumption of football. They are basically telling the minister that we don’t like your idea and that’s why we are where we are today.”
After it became clear that Zifa had abandoned the mini league and were working towards resumption in March, some PSL clubs have since abandoned training.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMapasure