Soccer fans thank Government, Delta, PSL, ZTN
THE Premier Soccer League’s release of Chibuku Super Cup fixtures, marking the return of topflight football action, has fascinated fans.
Following more than a year of inactivity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic football action finally returns on Saturday.
Government through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) granted PSL authority to demonstrate the country’s preparedness for the game, with matches strictly played in a safe environment without fans.
The regulations demand that stadia used be disinfected before kick-off and at half-time, while officials, players and support staff that enter the venues must be in possession of Covid-19 negative certificates.
A valuation will be made to determine if the PSL is ready for the league to return after the mini-league tournament, which will run for about nine weeks.
The PSL modified the Chibuku Super Cup format to a mini-league competition to allow for the smooth transition of football.
Teams were placed in four localised groups, with pool matches played in a home-and-away basis to allow teams to play more games and for players to gain fitness.
The PSL’s decision has been applauded by fans, who also thanked the Government for sanctioning the resumption of football.
The fans also hailed the exciting round robin cup format as well as the Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN), the official broadcast partner of the PSL.
ZTN will be live-streaming PSL matches this season.
“To be honest, we never thought that the games will start this early because there were a lot of promises that were previously made by football authorities last year insinuating that the league will kick-off in 2020. We appreciate and applaud the Government for allowing football to resume. As fans, we missed the action and believe the sports industry had been heavily affected by the prolonged inactivity,” said Carlmarx Nkomo, Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association (ZNSSA) vice-president.
Trust Jim, ZNSSA secretary for the Southern Region Chapter, said their hope is that the Government will soon authorise vaccinated fans to attend football matches.
“I believe the long layoff has taught people the importance of sticking to the laws and fans understand the importance of adhering to Covid-19 regulations. We appreciate that we can watch football and hope that soon the Government will say at least a certain number of fans can attend matches while observing the Covid-19 health protocols,” said Jim.
Some fans said they were “tired” of financially assisting players.
“We live in a society where players rely on winning bonuses and match camping allowances, and when there’re no matches, they pester us. We’re happy matches are starting,” said Sikhumbuzo Ngwenya, a Bulawayo-based football fan.
Thomas Magwati said: “We love our football even without fans and we hope a few people will be allowed to attend matches in the long run.”
The Saturday match between Bulawayo City and Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo and the two Sunday ties between Ngezi Platinum Stars and Triangle United (Mandava) and Harare City against ZPC Kariba at the National Sports Stadium are scheduled for an 11am kick-off.
The other Saturday matches are Wha Wha against FC Platinum at Mandava Stadium and Caps United against Yadah.
In Mutare, Tenax will open their topflight league account with a date against Black Rhinos.
There are five matches lined up on Sunday, with Ngezi taking on Triangle in Zvishavane, while National Sports Stadium hosts a double header featuring Harare City and ZPC Kariba as well as Herentals and Dynamos.
Manica Diamonds and Cranborne Bullets complete the first round of matches on Sunday.
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