Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
CLUBS set to be part of the inaugural National League have up to next Wednesday to confirm their status after which Zifa will advise on the progress in establishing the league which will be a feeder to the topflight.
Zifa resolved to fulfil the constitutional requirement of having a national second tier league with effect from this season while keeping the four Regional Division One Leagues.
Sources said there has been an overwhelming inquiry about the National League. Each of the four regions – Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern – are supposed to send four clubs to the National League, with the four teams that were relegated from the Premier Soccer League in the 201/22 season joining in to complete the 16-team league.
Local authority bankrolled sides Harare City and Bulawayo City as well as Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services funded Tenax and Whawha were demoted from the topflight last year.
Invites for National League in the Central Region were sent to teams that finished in the top five after promotion of Sheasham – TelOne FC, Vubachikwe, Chapungu and Dulibadzimu.
Mutare City Rovers, Masvingo United, Chiredzi United and Renco Mine are understood to have expressed interest to join the National League.
The Northern Region’s Herentals Under-20, Golden Eagles, Black Mambas and Ngezi Platinum Stars Under-19 as well as Southern Region’s ZPC Hwange, Arenel, Talen Vision and army side Indlovu Iyanyathela are some of the clubs expected to join the National League.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said: “Prospective teams have to confirm by 1 February and we’ve received a positive response. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you who has made contact as of now but they have to do so before the deadline. After the deadline, we shall inform the football stakeholders accordingly.”
Establishing the National Division One League is widely viewed as a good development for the growth of the Zimbabwean league.
The concept of the second-tier national league, which is provided for in the Zifa constitution, was first mooted and adopted in 2013 but successive administrations have not been able to implement it.
The introduction of the National Division One League will see two clubs relegated from the Premier Soccer League at the end of the season instead of four.
Presently, each region promotes a team each into the PSL. There have been arguments that more competitive leagues in the world have one promotional division contributing two clubs like the English Premiership and the Spanish La Liga. — @ZililoR