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Bleak outlook for Zim football

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

THE return of professional football in the country this year remains a major doubt after the joint Premier Soccer League (PSL) medical and Zifa competitions committee encountered challenges in commencing the scientific research, which will determine the way forward.

According to the initial schedule, the Zifa executive committee was supposed to have met yesterday to deliberate on the research findings and make a final decision.

But the meeting had to be postponed indefinitely until the scientific check is successfully completed.

“We are currently working on the logistics to begin the process right now. We are almost done with the logistics and we should be able to begin anytime now,” Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela (pictured) told Standardsport.

“We encountered logistical challenges basically with the hardware side of things, which delayed the start of the research,” Gwesela said.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to take to complete it because it involves testing of PSL and Division One players and staff as well as surveys.

“In short, it’s an empirical research, which is both qualitative and quantitative.”

In their last executive meeting on July 18, Zifa were still hopeful football activities would start in September subject to the recommendations of doctors and the competitions team and the approval by the government.

It looks virtually impossible now for football to return in September judging by the little progress made since.

The situation is further exacerbated by the recent spike in the Covid-19 cases in the country, which have significantly increased in recent weeks.

In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, government announced a dusk-to-dawn Covid-19 curfew.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Cricket, which resumed training about two months ago, have been forced to cancel the scheduled visit by Afghanistan for a five-match Twenty20 international series set for Harare this month due to recent measures put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

The outbreak of the global pandemic has brought all sporting activities to a grinding halt since March, thus affecting the start of the PSL while international engagements had to be cancelled.

Five months on, there is no clear path with regard to the return of football action in the country as clubs and players alike continue to wallow in financial doldrums.

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