ZIMBABWEAN football authorities should take heed of the warning from Delta Beverages with regards to the company’s sponsorship of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and put their house in order.
insidesport with MICHAEL KARIATI
The six-year marriage between the PSL and their sponsors came to an end at the conclusion of the 2016 soccer season and Delta Beverages have come out in the open to say they are having second thoughts about extending the contract due to the chaos in local football.
Those running football in the country should take Delta Beverages’ warning seriously and change the way they are doing things before football loses its biggest benefactor.
The beverage manufacturers are the only sponsors that Zimbabwean football has at the moment and their departure would mean going back to the year 2010 scenario when Motor Action won the league championship but were not rewarded for their effort.
That same year, Charles Sibanda was crowned the soccer star of the year, but did not receive anything in return for his inspiring performances throughout the year.
The departure of Delta Beverages would also discourage other potential tournament sponsors from coming on board to bankroll football, which is desperate for finances.
It is a fact that without a league financier, chances of other sponsors coming in would be minimal as there would be less excitement, with the game becoming dull and less competitive.
It should be noted that it is during Delta Beverages sponsorship that tournaments such as the Mbada Diamonds Cup, the
BancABC Sup8r, the One Wallet Cup, the TM Pick n Pay Challenge and the Zimbabwe National Army Charities Shield came on board.
It should also be put on record that Delta Beverages’ withdrawal of the PSL sponsorship would also take away the Chibuku Super Cup, which is sponsored by the same company, leaving footballers with nothing to compete for.
That is the path which Zimbabwean football is heading in, unless those in authority — especially those at Zifa — are willing to change the way they are doing things.
Zifa should learn better ways of dealing with contentious matters. In the relegation and promotion case, for instance, instead of victimising the other parties through suspensions, they should have tried dialogue.
Surprisingly, since 1993 when the PSL was formed and since 2011 when Delta came on board, the PSL has not had any problems with the national football association — until recently when the Phillip Chiyangwa-led Zifa board took office.
Word doing rounds is that Zifa’s purge of the PSL leadership is aimed at forcing the league back under the direct control of Zifa, as was the case before 1993 when the clubs, broke away from the then Zifa-controlled Super League.
The formation of the National Football Association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz) and attempts to force the PSL’s hardworking chief executive officer Kenny Ndebele to take up the position of secretary-general of Nafaz, point to such sinister motives.
Ironically, the reason why the clubs broke away from Zifa in the first place was to operate independently and avoid the problems associated with the involvement of the national football association in their affairs.
The question is: What exactly is there at the PSL that Zifa wants so dearly? Is it the power associated with controlling the country’s top football teams, or is it about controlling the finances from the sponsors?
Whatever it is, the supreme football controlling body should get their hands off the PSL, and instead concentrate on their numerous responsibilities.
They have the Division One, Two, Three and Four leagues to concentrate on. They also have the Warriors, the Mighty Warriors and the Young Warriors to take care of. Not to mention the $6 million debt that is sitting on their door.
So far, Zifa have done well with the Warriors preparations’ for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals, and credit goes to them. The Warriors need them more than the PSL.
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