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“Uncertainty of hope”: Impact of Covid-19 on Zimbabwe football.

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By Branton Matondo

The hope for a possible comeback of the Zimbabwe local professional league (Castle lager premier league, division one and two) still remains bleak and uncertain due to the novel coronavirus which pushed the local football’s fraternity in the realm of lockdown.

Assessment of the situation certainly reveals that a possible return might be overshadowed by overwhelming inconsistencies.

Analysts and followers of local football have been sceptical about a possible reoccurrence. With the inflationary cancer already eating through Zimbabwean football, it is rationally difficult for football mother bodies to commence kick off “COVID” stressing times.

The Germany Bundesliga has already commenced screening its games but for the local front fundamental steps must be implemented for a proper comeback.

Empty stadiums might seem ideal for developed leagues like Laliga(Spain), English premier league(EPL) and Serie A(Italy) but for our professional outfits it is a mountainous task.

Most teams in Zimbabwe especially division one clubs rely on gate takings. Gate takings are then used to pay referees and match officials. Without fans cheering in the stadiums, funding will be problematic to obtain.

Even teams from the elite league are financially struggling like Manica Diamonds Fc who were once on the spotlight concerning issues of the team’s remuneration.

If the leagues were to start anytime soon, the rainy season will surely sabotage. 95% of Zimbabwean stadiums are below standard. Meaning that they do not contain basic FIFA approved requirements like drainage facilities and security services. The division one outfits are a nonstarter. Majority of the pitches are bare and fence less. A best example is that Filabusi stadium located in Filabusi in the Matebeleland region.

Such stadiums clearly jeopardize football progression. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has supported the idea that teams participating should have enough PPE kits and players should be tested periodically.

However, there is doubt on how capable our local leagues are in coping up with such requirements. Only a few and well-funded teams are able to carry out such vital protective actions.

With corona virus cases now edging towards 300, some premier league teams have twisted their focus to online training programs. One good example is that of Dynamos Fc who are already underway with such responsive actions.

Struggling clubs are side-lined from doing the same. This is so because online services come with exorbitant charges that act as automatic hindrance.

Fingers crossed, the local football leadership is planning to return kick off soon provided there are proper measures instigated.

The writer of this article can be reached via:

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