Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo yesterday moved in to quell confusion surrounding the change of the domestic season, saying the resolution made by the congress to temporarily set aside aligning the season to Fifa and Caf calendar dates stands.
The PSL had on December 16, moved a motion to align the local season with that of Europe where it starts in August and ends in May, but the custodians of Zimbabwean football, Zifa councillors, expressed reservations on the idea citing that the country isn’t ready yet to change.
Last Friday, the Zifa board met in Harare and this publication has it on good authority that the issue of changing the season and aligning it with the Fifa and Caf calendar was brought up at the meeting, with majority of board members agreeing to stick to assembly resolutions.
In a statement yesterday, Kamambo said the local season will kick off in March, giving teams in all tiers time to prepare for the 2019 season.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) Annual General Meeting held on the 16th of December 2018 resolved that the 2019 PSL football season will kick off in March 2019 as per current league format.
“The Zifa congress further resolved that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) will engage stakeholders on the proposal to shift the kick off dates to August as recommended by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).
“In pursuant to the above, at our first Executive Committee meeting on the 21st of December 2018, PSL was therefore directed to come up with a road map on their stakeholder engagement process on the proposed shift with a view to implement the proposal in 2020.
“It is our view that the proposal will be deliberated upon at our 2019 Annual General meeting set for early next year to afford members ample time to plan well ahead,” said Kamambo.
It would have been suicidal for the Zifa board to overturn assembly resolutions as that would have been a clear breach of the constitution.
With the PSL season starting in March, the idea of increasing the number of topflight teams to 20, which was seen as the best way for transition to the August to May calendar has been shelved.
Some of the things that the PSL should consider in their bid to align the season with the international calendar include finding sponsorship for the development leagues, that is the four regional First Division leagues and the lower leagues who don’t have the comfort of sponsorship like the topflight league.
They also have to engage the local authorities that own most facilities on sprucing up of the stadia so that they are ready to successfully host the games during the rainy season.
Zimbabwe once experimented with the August-May calendar in the 1990s and the results were depressing.
Most of the venues were found wanting because of poor drainage during the rainy season.