By Trevor Makonyonga
The halt of football for a long time in Zimbabwe could mean serious challenges in the future for the sport. It has been well over a year since there was premier league action and this has become detrimental to the development of the game.
A cliché question has to be asked as to why Zimbabwe is unable to resume action when other countries are playing. The Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League (ZPSL) CEO, Kenny Ndebele, came up with a proposal for the start of football which lays down a plan to have football coming back. What is interesting about the proposal laid by Ndebele is that after having set mini tournament for December which were unfruitful and it seems there is no proper agreed plan for the resumption of football.
“There is need for football to come up with Football Resumption Plan, which will be acceptable to the Ministry of Youths, Sport, Arts and Recreation. This concept remains the approved method to resume competitions. The Premier Soccer League and its Clubs are not financially sound to afford the costs of camping, allowance and other related costs. It is important to note that, this concept competition should be played behind closed doors.
“The PSL will have to come up with a new proposal for submission to the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) through the Zimbabwe Football Association,” wrote Ndebele.
Although the PSL CEO drew up a proposal for what he hoped would work for football to resume, it seems not every stakeholder is prepared to take up the plan.
Bustop TV talked to Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) Communications and Competitions Manager, Xolisani Gwesela, over the telephone who said that ZIFA could not do anything because of policy.
“It (the resumption of football) is a matter of government policy and we cannot do anything about it. The government stopped all sports and we are a sport and cannot do anything,” said Gwesela.
With Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) currently hosting Pakistan Women, ZIFA’s excuses could seem null. Maybe the current situation is viable for their operations in some way.
The country’s sports journalist under the banner, Sports Writers Association of Zimbabwe (SWAZ) earlier wrote a statement to try and convince ZIFA to do act towards the resumption of sport in the country
“In view of the grim economic situation posed on the local football scene by the global coronavirus pandemic and the pain and anguish it has wrought on our footballers, SWAZ is urging ZIFA to make an urgent plea to Government to consider lifting the ban on football competitions. SWAZ lauds the swift stance taken by our Government to impose a national lock-down in order to stem the further spread of the scourge.
“It was such a visionary approach that saw plenty of lives saved including those in the sports profession where fatalities have been contained to a bare minimum. But Zifa needs to argue football’s case to the authorities and demonstrate that the sport can resume in as much as other services deemed essential are gradually reopening.
“Sport is no different from tourism in that the two provide a form or recreation and are a source of income to a wide diversity of our communities. While lives are important to save, livelihoods are also essential to protect,” SWAZ said.
Whatever the case maybe, every decision-making stakeholder has to make sure that there are proper plans to bring back not just soccer but every other sport because people livelihoods are at stake.Athletes rely on form and without proper competition for a long period this can drop leaving others to set aside their respective disciplines.
With the understanding that sport is not just leisure but also business, the urgency of resuming sport will be arrived at.Something has to be done promptly!