BY CLOUD FUSIRE
THE 2021/22 Castle Lager Premiership resumes this week after the calamitous decision by the suspended Zifa board to withdraw referees last weekend.
This comes after local football was thrown into turmoil last week when the suspended Zifa board reacted to the dissolution by ordering top flight referees to withdraw their services a few minutes before kick-off.
The decision was roundly condemned as it riled clubs that had already prepared for the league matches of the new campaign.
There is no doubt as well the referees’ no-show ruffled the feathers of the league’s flagship sponsors — Delta Beverages — through their brands Castle Lager and Chibuku Super.
However, all that is now behind and football should be the winner this Friday as action finally kicks-off following last week’s dark hour for the local game.
PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said they had received assurances that the match officials will be available this afternoon and moving forward to take charge of the games.
“Weekend matches will go ahead as planned and Zifa has promised us that match officials will be available to officiate the games,” said Bare.
The abandoned fixtures will commence on Friday with Cranborne Bullets hosting Bulawayo Chiefs at the National Sports Stadium.
On Saturday, defending champions FC Platinum are at home at Mandava Stadium in a potentially explosive tie against Bulawayo side Chicken Inn.
Herentals host Black Rhinos at the National Sports Stadium while Yadah FC take on ZPC Kariba at Baobab Stadium.
Bulawayo City host Manica Diamonds at Barbourfields Stadum while prison sides Tenax Fc and Whawha play their derby at Sakubva Stadium.
On Sunday, Highlanders will host Ngezi Platinum Stars at Barbourfields while Dynamos travel to Gibbo Stadium to take on Triangle United.
CAPS United host Harare City at the National Sports Stadium to round up the weekend’s league action.
Meanwhile, though most football stakeholders are pleased that football is back, the clubs though still feel hard done by suspended Zifa board’s unpopular decision to withdraw match officials last week.
Dynamos chairperson Isaiah Mupfurutsa said the halt will also have a long-term financial effect on the club’s plans and budget for the season.
“We were very disappointed with the decision made to suspend matches on Monday last week when we had already prepared and travelled to fulfil our games.
“Whoever made that decision must have introspected carefully about that decision. We are financially affected because we had travelled to Triangle a day before the match.
“We accrued heavy costs such as travelling, food, Covid tests, and accommodation costs for the team.
“The cost is too much and we are now supposed to fulfil the fixture this week. We don’t know how we are going to recover from the cost and effects caused,” said Mupfurutsa.
CAPS United vice-chairperson Nhamo Tutisani also said the move will continue to haunt the club’s plans of the season as they are accruing unbudgeted costs.
He said there is a need for financial assistance from the relevant authorities if clubs are to survive the financial impact caused.
“The major challenge still facing us is that we were just told to fulfil the postponed fixture this week and nothing was communicated on who is going to accrue the same cost we had accrued last week.
“We are supposed to repeat the same process and costs and this will have long-term implications on our plans as clubs,” said Tutisani.
PSL weekend fixtures
Cranborne Bullets vs Bulawayo Chiefs (NSS)
FC Platinum vs Chicken Inn (Mandava), Yadah FC vs ZPC Kariba (Baobab), Herentals vs Black Rhinos (NSS),
Bulawayo City vs Manica Diamonds (Barbourfields), Tenax vs Whawha (Sakubva)
Highlanders vs Ngezi Platinum Stars (Barbourfields), Triangle United vs Dynamos (Gibbo), CAPS United vs Harare City (NSS) – Daily News