The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is still going through the contents of the communication they received from the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) sanctioning the resumption of football on a gradual phase.
SRC director-general Prince Mupazviriho last Friday wrote to Zifa general secretary Joseph Mamutse to inform him that the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation had granted permission for the recommencement of football.
Only Premier Soccer League teams, Women Soccer League teams as well as national teams were given the green light to resume activity. A mini-league concept has been proposed using the bubble idea, with activities to be strictly controlled.
Questions have, however, been raised about the affordability of the bubble, which would require the competing teams to stay isolated from the general public for the duration of the competition. South Africa used the bubble concept to finish off their 2019/20 Premier Soccer League season.
The Zimbabwe national cricket team, which leaves for Pakistan tomorrow has been in a bubble since the players and support staff got into camp last Monday. Players, tested a day before they got into camp have been interacting only with people who tested negative for Covid-19.
Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela yesterday said they were still going through the letter from the SRC, with a way forward to be announced soon.
“We are still studying the letter from the SRC, we will advise on the way forward in due course,’’ Gwesela said.
One thing that is certain is that even if football is to resume, fans will not be allowed in stadiums. Zifa have already announced that the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the Warriors and Dessert Foxes of Algeria at the National Sports Stadium on 16 November is taking place behind closed doors.
“No fans will be allowed in the stadiums. Maybe there will be a change of circumstances but for now fans are not allowed.”
Meanwhile, Zifa are expected to this week announce the Zimbabwe senior women and Under-17 squads for the Cosafa tournaments in South Africa next month. Zimbabwe are sending the Mighty Warriors as well as the Under-17 for the two tournaments that are running concurrently in Nelson Mandela Bay from 3-14 November. Host nation South Africa will be joined by Angola, Botswana, Comoros Islands, Malawi, East African guest nation Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe in what is a strong field in Nelson Mandela Bay for the Cosafa Women’s Championship.
The draw for the championships is scheduled to take place at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Thursday. A new trophy will be handed out for the Women’s Championship after South Africa claimed the previous one for the third time in a row, which means that they got to keep it.