Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
A group of Highlanders FC members and supporters has embarked on an initiative to raise US$1 500 to cover the team’s Covid-19 tests to enable the first team to start training.
Twelve Premiership clubs have already done their Covid-19 tests and resumed training in preparation for the league competition set to start in mid-May but Bosso are reportedly struggling to raise funds to send players, technical and support staff for the mandatory tests.
A poster has been circulating on Highlanders supporters’ WhatsApp groups urging followers to make a contribution.
Hopes are high that Bosso members in the diaspora will come to the Bulawayo giants’ rescue.
The newly-elected club chairman Johnfat Sibanda said during his election campaign that many club members in the disapora were ready to fund the club.
Bosso spokesperson Ronald Moyo could not be drawn into commenting on when the team will conduct its tests.
Giving an update on teams’ restart, Premier Soccer League chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said they were pleased that the majority of clubs had adhered to the requirements.
He said 12 teams had conducted their tests and submitted their results.
Out of the country’s three traditional football giants, only Caps United players and technical staff have been tested while Dynamos and Highlanders players and technical staff are yet to be tested.
Triangle United players were tested on Good Friday and will start training today while Chicken Inn players were tested on Tuesday.
The other teams whose players were tested and given the green light to resume training are Tenax, Ngezi Platinum Stars, Black Rhinos, Bulawayo Chiefs, Bulawayo City, Black Rhinos, Manica Diamonds, Herentals and ZPC Kariba.
The PSL has imposed a fine of US$250 for clubs which reveal Covid-19 results and statistics.
Clubs are supposed to forward the results to the relevant medical and league offices.
From the first-round of tests, it is understood that some clubs recorded a 100 percent clean bill.
The PSL has proposed that the elite league returns under a cluster competition, which will be hosted in four cities, with teams playing in groups.
This will cut costs for clubs that will not be getting any gate takings this year since matches will be played in empty stadia.
The PSL is adamant that it will start the programme on the weekend of May 15-16, meaning that clubs like Highlanders are losing time to prepare. The standard period to conduct pre-season training is between six to eight weeks and Highlanders might find themselves playing the Independence Cup against Dynamos having trained for a week.
With the PSL setting April 15 as the deadline for player registration, Highlanders will have to move with speed to assemble their 25-member squad. They have 18 contracted players.