Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
THE Premier Soccer League’s annual meeting set for March 6 in Harare is expected to set the tone for the upcoming season which has already been hyped by a lot of pre-season activities, especially by the traditional giants.
Many clubs began their preparations in January and the pre-season activities are now in full swing. However, the league have said they will announce their 2020 programme, which include the fixtures, soon after hosting their AGM.
The new sponsorship package, which was agreed in principle last year by the league’s leadership and the traditional sponsors Delta Beverages, will also take centre stage. The package will be unveiled at the signing ceremony.
The PSL are optimistic that by the time they hold their indaba, outstanding issues, which include the appeal by Herentals against the bribery cases being levelled against the side, would have been finalised.
Herentals were found guilty by a PSL Disciplinary Committee and had three points docked from their game against Black Rhinos. The verdict meant they would be demoted to Division One this season.
However, the side has pleaded innocence and the matter has been referred to the Zifa Appeals Committee. Currently, the PSL are in a quandary on whether to include Herentals in their programme or not.
The Students were relegated after they were found guilty of bribing Black Rhinos officials in a match that they went on to win 3-0 and boosted their chances of surviving relegation.
According to the PSL verdict, Chapungu, who finished one place below Herentals, are waiting in the wings and have since appointed Moses “Bambo” Chunga as their new head coach in preparation for 2020.
Chapungu, however, can only get confirmation once the case has been resolved.
PSL spokesperson, Kudzai Bare, said the annual indaba will be attended by all 18 top-flight clubs and will review the 2019 season as well as preparations for the coming season.
Already some of the clubs have begun the registration of their players. There have also been some exciting transfers involving giants Dynamos, Caps United, Highlanders and defending champions FC Platinum.
Other clubs like Triangle, Ngezi Platinum and ZPC Kariba have also been busy on the market. But the indaba will set the tone for the new season as the clubs will seek to wrestle the league trophy from FC Platinum who have won it for three successive seasons.
“The annual general meeting will focus on club licensing, organisation and management of football competitions, among other issues,” said Bare.
The league bosses have already discussed a new sponsorship package with Delta Beverages and what is left is finalisation of the agreement which will lead to the signing and unveiling of the deal.
Delta Beverages confirmed at the end of last year that a new and improved deal has been agreed upon in principle.
The previous deal signed in 2017 expired at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Although the details of the new contract negotiations are yet to be made public, the sponsors are set to commit themselves for another three seasons running up to the end of 2022.
The news of the new sponsorship negotiations should come as sweet news to the financially hamstrung clubs who have had to struggle to make ends meet because of the rising costs of operations.
The expired deal, signed in 2017, was worth $3,45 million. This was a substantial amount when the contract was signed three years back.
However, the package has suffered the brunt of the economic difficulties facing the country.
Delta Beverages have been bankrolling PSL to the tune of $700 000 per season for the league championship and $450 000 for the Chibuku Super Cup knock-out tournament for the last three years.
It remains to be seen how much will be rolled for this season.
Glow Petroleum led the way in sport sponsorship in December last year when they unveiled a whopping $11 million package for this season’s Rainbow Amateur Netball League.