The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
THE Premier Soccer League is moving with speed to put in place modalities for a mini tournament to be played in December.
PSL chairman Farai Jere said they in the preparation stage that involves testing players for Covid-19 before they resume training.
“We were given the greenlight just yesterday (Friday), so we are just at a planning stage with the first being to test the players and get them back to training. I was just on the phone with Dr Nic Munyonga discussing some of the measurers that will be implemented to ensure a safe return of the sport,’’ Jere said.
The planning does not involve spectators for now but is hopeful that should there be any changes, spectators will be allowed to watch the matches live. He added that logistics in terms of prizes were still worked out.
“As things stand, we are not thinking about allowing fans into the grounds as we seek to follow international standards to ensure the safety of the players and that we do not become a conduit for the spread of the corona virus. However, remember the situation is fluid and maybe by the time the games start something magical would have happened and we let fans in,” he said, citing Germany where a certain percentage of fans are allowed into the stadium.
Jere said PSL entered into a contract with online streaming service, mycujoo that saw several games being streamed on Facebook Live and this is likely to be the platform through which fans will watch the game. He also said they would be engaging the national broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation on the flighting of live matches on ZTV.
While the PSL has a contract with ZBC, the national broadcaster last year only managed to broadcast a sizeable number of games and fans are fearful only those with internet access will watch the games.
Jere said PSL teams are likely to be put into four groups with games being played in round robin format in each group with the emerging top two facing the top two from the other groups. He said each pool could play their matches in one stadium.
“We might have to take four teams and we group them to play at Mandava Stadium (in Zvishavane) in round robin format while the same happens in other approved stadiums although with number of teams in some groups might be higher in order to accommodate the 18 PSL teams. The top two teams in each group can them meet as we head for the finals. However, we are still fine tuning the plans and will come up with something concrete in the coming weeks,” he said.
Jere said the restart of football will kick off in earnest with the testing of players, technical staff and ancillary staff that work closely with the footballers beginning tomorrow. With the end of the year close, chances for a marathon full season are close to zero, sources said.