Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
SUPERSPORT will this weekend resume its live broadcast of Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matches when it beams three matches at Barbourfields Stadium.
The giant sports channel had not beamed any matches this season and the resumption will be welcomed by soccer fans, who have been hard hit by a squeeze in their spending due to chronic cash shortages in the country.
“The delay has really been caused by the uncertainty that hovered over our league in terms of principal sponsorship and we then had to apply a bit late to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) for the renewal of the SuperSport licence,” said PSL communications and media liaison officer Kudzayi Bare.
Due to the promotion and relegation debacle, there was uncertainty on the sponsorship of the league this season, with traditional sponsors Delta Beverages hinting on a pull out, only to have a change of heart later.
Bare could not give the exact number of matches that will be beamed this season citing a number of factors that could be beyond the league’s control.
“The issue of double headers where we are meeting some resistance from some clubs that don’t want to play in a double header and also the distance between stadiums has a bearing on the number of games to flight, but we don’t want to have only Harare and Bulawayo having live matches,” she said.
The coverage will begin with a double header on Saturday; the first between on-fire How Mine against FC Platinum at 1PM before Bulawayo City take on Black Rhinos at 3PM. On Sunday, SuperSport will beam the blockbuster encounter between the country’s biggest rivals Highlanders and Dynamos, a match that is always full of spills and thrills.
“We will be approaching the Bulawayo City Council on behalf of How Mine to have Barbourfields Stadium for use at 1PM and if we have more double headers then more matches are likely to be beamed as a result,” said Bare.
Each of the 18 teams in the league gets $22 000 annually as broadcasting rights, which is paid mid-year. “It might sound not much, but it can cover some basics but important needs of a club like player registration fees and the like,” Bare said.