Zimbabwe: Domestic Football Season Hangs in Balance

13 August 2020

The 2020 football season could be cancelled amid indications the infrastructure at virtually all the country's stadia does not meet standards prescribed by the World Health Organisation to contain the coronavirus storm.

ZIFA Medical Committee chairman, Edward Chagonda, hinted it was virtually impossible for football activities to start at a time when the country is recording a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Football activities have been on hold since March and there had been indications the season could begin next month, with the Chagonda-led Medical Committee expected to submit a medical report on the way forward, over the weekend.

But, it is increasingly looking unlikely the season will start this year.

And the fact that the stadiums, most of which have been condemned by the ZIFA First Instance Board, are not specially designed to host football matches in these Covid-19 times, makes it even more complicated for the season to start.

Harare City Council have significantly downsized the number of their workers involved in the renovations of both Gwanzura and Rufaro.

At least, four Premiership teams were set to use the two stadia.

ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, yesterday hinted the season could be delayed further by the state of the stadia.

"At the moment, I cannot really say when the season will start," he said.

"There are so many factors at play but what I can just say is that local authorities must repair their facilities and make sure they are ready to host football matches in these Covid-19 times.

"The stadiums should meet the Club Licensing criteria and also meet the levels of hygiene expected by WHO.

"We are encouraging the local authorities, who are the owners of the stadia, to address all areas in preparation to hosting matches in these times.

"The changing rooms need to be widened, in order for social distancing to be effectively implemented.

"There is also need for the stadium owners to furnish the facilities with the requisite equipment for testing coronavirus and other things.

"So, everyone has to play a part."

With no date yet, for the start of the season, just four months before the end of the year, chances are high the 2020 season could be cancelled.

PSL chief executive, Kenny Ndebele said they were waiting to hear from higher authorities.

"We cannot say anything at the moment, we are waiting from the other end for direction," he said.

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