Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
THE Premier Soccer League have finally conformed to the Caf decision to align their calendar with other modern African leagues that also move in line with other Fifa competitions.
From next year the local top-flight season will now start in August and end in May.
An extraordinary meeting of the new PSL leadership under the stewardship of Farai Jere resolved to alter the season programme and align it with the trends obtaining around the continent.
Jere’s committee have since written to Zifa informing them of their position with the association largely expected to give it their thumbs up given that it is the soccer mother body who are the Caf and Fifa members.
Zimbabwe’s season has over the years been running between March and November.
PSL communications and media liaison officer, Kudzai Bare confirmed the developments in statement yesterday.
“The PSL submitted a letter to Zifa proposing the change of the PSL calendar to align it with the new Caf calendar. The PSL has already decided that from next year they will change the calendar,” said Bare.
However, the league’s chiefs are also cognisant of the fact that an experiment with the August-May calendar in the 1990s by their predecessors led by the late Morrison Sifelani and Chris Sibanda hit a snag largely due to poor facilities.
Most of the venues that were being used had problems with the drainage system during the rainy season and Jere’s leadership is aware that these are some of those challenges that the clubs could face again.
“The EGM resolved that clubs should submit written reports on the state of preparedness in terms of infrastructure, human resources, rules and regulations i.e. matters of force majeure and any other challenges that may need to be addressed in line with the proposed change of calendar,” said Bare.
But with Caf re-aligning the calendar of their major tournaments such as the African Cup of Nations and the inter-club competitions, it was always going to be inevitable that Zifa, through their affiliate leagues, also adjusted to suit the new continental calendar.
Caf recently announced that the next edition of the Champions League and the Confederation Cup would commence in December.
This forced the PSL to nominate reigning champions FC Platinum and the Chibuku Super Cup winners, Harare City, to represent the country.
FC Platinum have since confirmed their participation while Harare City declined the offer.
Meanwhile, a full PSL emergency committee, headed by Jere and deputised by Chicken Inn’s Lifa Ncube, who were both elected into the office two weeks ago, was set up.
Dynamos president Solomon Sanyamandwe is now the finance committee chairman while Highlanders’ boss Kenneth Mhlophe is the internal audit and Human Resources Committee chairman and FC Platinum boss Evans Mtombeni heads the technical and development committee.
Among other issues discussed as the need for PSL to strengthen stadium security while at the same time speeding up the process of standardisation which has been on the cards for some time now.
“The EGM approved to have comprehensive stadium security and disaster management manuals to ensure safety and security at football matches. These should be in place by the beginning of the 2019 season. The PSL secretariat was tasked to work on the documents in consultation with all key stakeholders.
“The league has been asked to expedite the process of coming up with a Standard Player Contract that is meant to create favourable working conditions between football players and clubs,” said Bare.
Meanwhile, Jere has indicated that he would like to see the Premier Soccer League investing in their own property which will see them building their own headquarters in Harare.
The PSL have all along been renting a house in the Eastlea area of Harare but Jere said that will soon be a thing of the past as he would like to see the league having its own property just like the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee who are now based in Belvedere.
“I would like to leave a legacy at the Premier Soccer League where I would like, among other things, to source for some funds from either Zifa or Fifa and build or buy a building which will house the league secretariat. This is all part of my development plans going forward for football in this country,” Jere said.