Despite calls from CAF to have all its members run an identical calender that ends national leagues before the next AFCON in June,Zimbabwe soccer lovers should brace up to a congested 2019 soccer calendar after sticking to the March to December season, albeit as football authorities seek solutions to the stadiums drainage and smooth transition.
There had been confusion within football circles in the Southern Africa nation centred on the kick-off date of the local championship despite the Zimbabwe Football Association assembly ruling against the switch to the global August to April calendar.
From the country’s elite first tier league emerged murmurs suggesting the switch but last the 2019 matter was put to bed through a press statement from the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League confirming the March to December season.
“The 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season is set to commence on Saturday 30 March 2019. In preparation for the start of the season, the PSL will conduct stadium inspections from 29 January to 12 February 2019.
“Further, an induction workshop for the newly promoted PSL clubs will be held on 8 February 2019. This is meant to equip the new clubs with knowledge and expertise in the operations of the League.
“PSL Clubs have been advised to submit their player registration documents by 22 February 2019 for the processing of player’s licenses. The First Player Transfer window closes on 31 March 2019. We will release the 2019 fixture schedule in due course,” read the statement.
The confirmation, however comes with it’s negative tail as soccer clubs and fans alike will have to brace up for a congested and disruption filled calendar owing to the CAF Club tournaments (both the ongoing transition edition and 2019/20 edition).
Defending champions, FC Platinum’s participation in the transition edition has obviously been factored into consideration and should they progress beyond the group stage, this could cause a further headache to the league authorities.
The same FC Platinum together with Chibuku Cup winners, Triangle have qualified for the 2019/20 Total CAF Champions League and Total CAF Confederations Cup kicking off in June-July which also has to be factored in.
Should the Zimbabwe Warriors qualify for the 24 countries 2019 Total CAF Africa Cup of Nations set for Egypt it could pile up on more anticipated disruptions to add to the regional COSAFA Senior Men Challenge whose hosting rights have been offered to the Harare administration pending government guarantee letters.
However, it was always going to be headache to align the calendar with global one after a first attempt in 1999 was abandoned after facing serious teething problems of poor stadiums drainage systems which threatened washing away matches something whose solution remains pending.