By Ricky Zililo
The Premier Soccer League has set itself on a collision course with Zifa’s First Instance Body (FIB) for their “bold” move to use condemned Gweru’s Ascot Stadium for their programmes.
The league yesterday released their Match Day Two Castle Lager Premier Soccer League programme, indicating that newly promoted Shurugwi-based side Nichrut will play their home game against Chicken Inn at Ascot. The clash is set for Saturday, March 24.Ascot, home to Airforce of Zimbabwe sponsored Chapungu and Nichrut, is one of the four stadia that were earmarked for use by clubs for the season which were condemned by the FIB a fortnight ago.
The other facilities that were condemned by the FIB are Shabanie Mine’s home ground Maglas, topflight returnees Mutare City Rovers’ Sakubva and ZPC Kariba’s Nyamhunga.
The decision by the league to allow for Ascot to be used for Premiership games could have been motivated by the FIB’s shocking decision to clear Nyamhunga last Saturday morning, hours before the ZPC Kariba and FC Platinum’s opening fixture.
Following condemnation of Nyamhunga, ZPC Kariba registered National Sports Stadium as their alternative venue. However, on the opening day, ZPC Kariba decided against fulfilling their fixture in Harare where FC Platinum waited for them.
There are rumours that a member of the FIB ill-advised ZPC Kariba, telling them that they will have the facility cleared in time for the Premiership start.
“The problem is that some members of the FIB saw an opportunity to cash in because whenever they travel for those assignments they bill clubs $160 per person, per night. Someone allegedly fed ZPC Kariba official wrong information and that is why they had to travel late on Friday night from Harare to Kariba to clear the stadium. Surely if the stadium had been condemned, how would they have worked on the drainage system within a week? It doesn’t make sense at all because working on the drainage requires removing the lawn,” said a highly placed source.
The FIB, which was tasked with championing club licensing is made up of chairperson Piraishe Mabhena, deputy chairperson Willard Manyengavana, Nobioth Magwizi, Dennis Tshuma, Pithius Shoko, Gilbert Saika as well as ex-officio members Xolisani Gwesela, the Zifa communications manager and PSL competitions manager Elisha Mandireva.Gwesela, the spokesperson for the FIB declined to comment on the Ascot matter, referring questions to the PSL.
“I can’t comment on Ascot, ask the PSL. I will only comment after they issue their statement,” said Gwesela.
Asked how they cleared Nyamhunga, Gwesela said: “There were lots of improvements at Nyamhunga Stadium. For example, they now have a room for a female referee. The drainage is work in progress.”
The league’s chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele and the spokesperson Kudzai Bare were unavailable for comment.
Match Day Two fixtures
Saturday, March 24: Mutare City v Chapungu (National Sports Stadium, 1PM), Black Rhinos v ZPC Kariba (National Sports Stadium, 3PM), Harare City v Bulawayo City (Rufaro), FC Platinum v Yadah FC (Mandava), Nichrut FC v Chicken Inn (Ascot)
Sunday, March 25: Herentals FC v Highlanders (National Sports Stadium), Triangle United v Ngezi Platinum (Gibbo), Dynamos v Shabanie Mine (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Caps United (Luveve) The Chronicle