SuperSport, PSL deal long overdue

JOHANNESBURG - The deal between Zimbabwe’s Premier Soccer League and SuperSport should be lauded as a new chapter in the history of the Zimbabwean game.

To say this deal was long overdue might sound like a tired cliché, but there is a saying that better late than never.

I have always argued, and I presume rightly so that how come leagues from Uganda, Kenya and even Angola get a deal from the pay-per-view channel when more than 80 percent of foreign players plying their trade in the South African Premiership are from across the Zimbabwean border.

Millions of Mzansi soccer fans have been dying to see where on earth the likes of Tinashe Nengomasha, Benjani Mwaruwari, Peter Ndlovu, Knowledge Musona, Wilfred and William Mugeyi came from.

It has been a mystery for millions of Mzansi people but, thanks to the new deal, that mystery is now over.
With good sponsorship, it is my contention that Dynamos, Highlanders and to some extent CAPS United have a pulling power that can more than rival that of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

The only difference is the financial muscle.

While the corporate pour millions of rands into the coffers of Mzansi’s top clubs, the likes of Dynamos, normally rely on  gate takings, which hardly suffice for the entire operations.

I hope, and seriously hope that most of the funds being channelled from SuperSport will find a way into the pockets of the deserving role players — in this case the players themselves and not club officials.

While the money will come in handy for struggling Zimbabwean clubs, it is players intending to further their careers overseas who should be smiling from ear to ear as they will now get huge media coverage and much deserved television spotlight.

In the past, most Zimbabwean players intending to further careers overseas had to use Mzansi clubs as the spring board for such a dream but the new SuperSport deal will “short circuit” that long process.

For those who watched the players of the early 1980s, they will agree a good number of those players could have been a huge success overseas had they had excellent exposure.

The likes of Shacky Tauro, Joel Shambo, Stanley Ndunduma, Madinda Ndlovu just to mention a few could have made it easily into some of the top leagues in Europe but poor television coverage put paid to their aspirations.

The new SuperSport deal is the long awaited break that Zimbabwean soccer has been eyeing for some time.

Now that it is here, all those involved in the beautiful game should grab the opportunity with both hands and take the Zimbabwean game where it deserves — top of the African continent.

Zimbabwe deserves to be among the countries that should, on constant basis, qualify for the African Nations Cup and not sporadically as has been happening in the past.

The SuperSport deal will allow the country to be exposed to modern techniques all round.

It will help players and coaches to improve their game while local referees will also see where they need to jack up their act.

This is a win-win situation.

*Tinotenda Panashe is our South Africa-based columnist and correspondent. He can be contacted by e-mail at Tinotenda.Panashe@gmail.com

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