Is It High Time For Local Football To Return?

By Ashley Dube 

Following his side's one nil loss at the hands of Senegalese side ASC Jaraaf in the CAF Confederations cup, FC Platinum head coach Norman Mapeza bemoaned his side’s lack of match sharpness and appealed to the responsible authorities for the return of local football. 

The platinum-backed outfit had clear cut chances to win the game as Silas Songani’s penalty was saved and Gift Bello finding the woodwork when it was easier to score. The same sentiments were shared by Warriors gaffer Zdravko Logarusic following Zimbabwe’s participation in the CHAN tournament though it was swept under the carpet by local pundits as it was regarded as a mere excuse for his side’s dismal performances. 

On more introspection, do these two managers have a point? It is now over a year since there was local football action going back to 2019 when FC Platinum edged Caps United to the league title. Morocco for example (the winners of the just ended CHAN tournament) were head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in terms of technical ability and overall match preparedness. Morocco’s premiere competition the BOTOLA PRO resumed in August following the lockdown in March to complete the 2019-2020 season which finished in October. The 2020-2021 season had already commenced and is already on match day 6 with serial winners Raja Casablanca on top of the log.

Not only in Morocco but the South African DSTV Premiership has resumed as well as the Zambian Bola Yapa Zed. The major stumbling block for the Zimbabwe PSL was securing abio-secure bubble, and exercise which was deemed expensive and unaffordable. The concept was also regarded not viable as the league lacks a broadcasting partner. The clubs themselves hinted that they will struggle to keep their teams in camps for the length of the competition. 

In their draft proposal on the PSL plans for the return of football the major talking points from the draft included playing behind closed doors, and vaccination of all players and officials. A four-week competition with teams grouped into four groups based on the regions.

As it stands ZIFA are waiting for the response from the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) following its re-application for a waiver so it may resume domestic top flight football activities.

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