Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

PSL stadia dilemma: Clubs fail to meet minimum ground standards

By Grace Chingoma

The Premier Soccer League have been thrown into a quandary after most clubs failed to meet the minimum infrastructure pillar of club licensing at the end of the inspection of stadiums across the country.

PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele
PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele

An inspection across the country by the Zifa grounds committee revealed that most of the venues are in a poor state which has been worsened by the rains.

Now Zifa, through their club licensing arm, First Instance Body, and the PSL are now looking at giving the clubs temporary reprieve so that matches start while the stadiums are being attended to by the stadium owners.

It has emerged that Ascot, Gwanzura, Maglas, Nyamhunga and Dulivhadzimu did not pass the test.

Barbourfields, which only had waterlogging problems in recent weeks, Baobab, Gibbo, Mandava and the National Sport Stadium are some of the stadiums which are up to standard.

Zifa this year are seeking the fulfilment of minimum requirements of club licensing which was introduced in 2010 in Africa but hasn’t been implemented is countries such as Zimbabwe.

The association appear to have made great strides with administrative and personnel criteria of club licensing which, among a host of things, require all the coaches to have a Caf A Licence.

Clubs like Harare City, Yadah Stars and Dynamos have been forced to make changes to their technical departments.

The Sunshine Boys had to elevate assistant coach Mike Madzivanyika to replace Mkhupali ‘Mr Cooper’ Masuku, who was only given a contract at the start of the year but is not a Caf A licence holder.

DeMbare also parted ways with assistant coach Murape Murape who has Caf C licence.

But the Zifa licensing committee appears to have stuck out on the other minimum requirements.

Yesterday, PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele refused to comment referring all questions to Zifa Club Licensing Manager, Xolisani Gwesela, who was unreachable.

However, a well-placed source said Zifa and PSL have decided to have a workshop this week to chart the way forward.

“A meeting between Zifa and the PSL clubs is expected to address the challenges as the association has suddenly realised that they cannot impose but a buy-in from all the parties involved is needed.

“Even some of the big clubs don’t meet the minimum requirements.

“The biggest challenge is that many grounds failed the inspection. The First Instance Body and PSL are trying to engage the local authorities, the owners of these facilities so that there is understanding in writing, that the authorities will undertake some improvements at these facilities during the course of the league.

“Under the system, clubs are expected to have lease agreements and the relationship between them and the local authorities should be symbiotic but right now the relationship is not formal.

“There is a worry that the club licensing system will not be fulfilled, especially with the economic situation that is prevailing in the country, as it would be difficult to have more than five clubs meeting the requirements such as having an office run by staff including a media desk,” said the source.

Already the PSL face a stadium crisis where the National Sports Stadium is the only readily available ground at the moment with four teams looking to use the giant facility as the season gets underway this weekend. Rufaro is only expected to be ready to host league matches on natural turf in the second week April.

The Harare City Council have said Gwanzura will be ready while some greedy councillors at Chitungwiza Town Council frustrated the bid by Prophet Walter Magaya to renovate Chibuku and bring the Premiership to Chitungwiza.

Magaya owns Yadah Stars and wanted to take his team to Chibuku given that Chitungwiza is his home town but his efforts to renovate Chibuku was frustrated by some councillors who started making outrageous demands. The Chronicle