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Government is eager to restore football

Football expected to start August/September

Plans to resume football early next year without proper implementation of policies on the ground to ensure a safe environment for players and officials has reportedly unsettled the Government.

Zifa recently wrote to its affiliates proposing that they begin training on 4 January in preparation for the resumption of the 2021 season during the first week of March.

The announcement means resumption of football is just three weeks from now.

But the move could face resistance from the Government because the authorities are insisting that football must only be played in a safe and controlled environment to mitigate against the risks of spreading the coronavirus.

According to a Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) official, the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry was concerned about the state of preparedness to kickstart football on 4 January.

“It’s only three weeks before we start the New Year and the Minister (Kirsty Coventry) is concerned that there are no tangible efforts that have been made to make sure the resumption of football is done in a safe and controlled environment.

“So, the Government is worried that it will be very risky to resume football just for the sake of commencing competitive football in March with nothing on the ground to prove that Covid-19 protocols will be adhered to.
“The most logical thing to do would be resume football with the PSL in a managed and safe environment then gradually cascade down to the lower leagues,” said the SRC official.

B-Metro Sport understands that Zifa made a sudden U-turn to scrap the proposed mini league despite having earlier warmed up to the idea and playing a major role in formulating how it would be implemented.

The mini league was a concept that would have seen teams placed in pools and playing in different parts of the country before regional winners met for the semi-final and the finals.

It was scrapped without explanation with Zifa reportedly saying the concept was elitist.

Funding for the mini league proved the sticking point with Zifa flatly refusing to fund it while clubs maintained they were financially hamstrung to foot the bill for the tournament.

SRC board member Nigel Munyati recently told the media that by turning down the government proposed road map, Zifa would only delay the return of competitive action since the authorities would insist on starting with the topflight in a controlled environment before cascading to the lower leagues.

Zifa spokesman Xolisani Gwesela was not reachable for a comment on these developments.

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