from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE imminent return of football in Zimbabwe is to pave way for lucrative transfers to clubs in neighbouring South Africa.
It could be major boost to players forced to survive through menial tasks.
Zimbabwe’s league, which over the years is a main supplier of talent to the now-DStv Premiership, has been inactive since the end of 2019.
It was already months before scheduled when the government imposed a lockdown last April to curb the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Sports bodies, including the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL), have now reached a breakthrough that will see the return of the beautiful game as the COVID-19 eases.
Players can return to action after undergoing some COVID-19 tests.
“It was unpleasant stopping athletes from playing sport. We are now in a pleasant situation to assess how we can get them back to play sport safely,” said Allen Chiura, the chairman of the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) COVID-19 committee.
He was presenting during a just-concluded virtual meeting attended by commissioners.
Sebastian Garikai, the SRC acting director general, has informed the sports associations of the imminent return to action.
“SRC wishes to advise that the Government, through the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, plans to resume all sport in Zimbabwe,’’ Garikai stated.
However, with large gatherings still prohibited, fans are not likely to be allowed into stadia.
This would be a major blow to the football teams who, in the absence of television rights, solely rely on gate takings to raise funds.
Nonetheless, soccer agents could be the main beneficiaries of the resumption of football.
A number of moves across the Limpopo to the South African Premiership had stalled as a result of the Castle Premiership coming to a standstill and movement between the two countries halted by the respective lockdown.
“The lack of action hit the transfer of Zimbabwean players to foreign leagues badly. Both players and agents have borne the brunt,” said an agent who has in the past facilitated moves for the players to Mzansi.
“Teams in SA and abroad have understandably been reluctant to assess our players because they haven’t played since 2019. Hence there have been no transfers,” he said.
Zimbabwe has over the years been the main conveyer belt of talent to the South African Premiership.
Others such as current Supersport United coach, Kaitano Tembo, ex-Mamelodi Sundowns coach, Ian Gorowa, have been successful as players and in management.
Lack of activity had forced current players in Zimbabwe to play for meagre amounts of money in social football games.
Others have reported being forced to vending chickens to raise money.
The Footballers Union of Zimbabwe has disclosed the players’ plight.
– CAJ News