2012 season a success: PSL chief

HARARE - Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive, Kenny Ndebele, has declared the 2012 season a huge success.

The 2012 season was the second year under the three-year deal signed between PSL and its official sponsor, Delta Beverage.   

The year also saw NetOne and Mbada Diamonds Company strengthen their ties with local football by sponsoring the season-opening Charity Shield and the Mbada Diamonds Cup, the country’s richest knockout football competition, respectively.

BancABC, which bankrolls three clubs in the league, was also a major partner for the local game. The bank is the official sponsor of Dynamos, Highlanders and Black Mambas.

In addition, the league also signed a six-year broadcast deal with SuperSport in a landmark development which will see matches in the domestic top-flight league being screened live on SuperSport television channels throughout sub-Saharan Africa and islands on the Indian Ocean.

“We looked at our programme and our role as the league to organise competitions for the 16 teams, which I think we have successfully accomplished,” Ndebele told the Daily News yesterday.

“Apart from the Castle Premiership, we managed to retain two major events on the calendar and we started with the NetOne Charity Shield at the beginning of the season.

“The Mbada Diamonds Cup was also a successful tournament in its second year of existence. There were large crowds attending their matches.  It’s unfortunate we couldn’t have the BanABC (knockout) tournament due to congestion caused by a month-long national team assignment, but we expect it to be back next year.

“We managed to bring SuperSport on board and they screened some of our matches live. Next year we are going to have a full coverage and they will come up with a programme on matches they will be beaming live.

“We managed to fulfil our programme of 240 matches. Our calendar went on according to plan as we wanted to pave way for teams taking part in Caf competitions. It’s unfortunate that only one team will be representing the country in the Champions League next year. (But) If we look at the financial situation at most of the teams in the league, then you can understand why we are fielding one club in Africa.”

The PSL chief also applauded the coming on board of different companies and individuals who joined hands to sponsor local clubs.

“It’s not only the league’s sponsorship that we are recognising because we have companies like BancABC who have done good to a number of clubs. There are also individuals who came on board to sponsor teams.

“If players’ welfare is being taken care of, it brings stability to the clubs and increases competition. And you can see there was a lot of competition which saw the league being decided on the last day of the season.”

The former Highlanders chairman, however, noted that there are still some areas of concern.

“We are still concerned about the number of teams relegated from the Premiership in terms of capacity building and stability. You find that newly-promoted teams are finding it difficult to settle in the top-flight league.

“We are trying to lobby Zifa to reduce the number of teams relegated to two and promote two because that’s the way to go. Teams don’t get a chance to settle, they just come and go down and as we look at the growth of our football, you find that most individual-sponsored teams are finding it hard to stay afloat.

“It won’t be easy though given we have four Division One regions which feed the top-flight league but in terms of football development, it’s not the way to go. There were also issues of violence and disruption of matches which is bad for our game as it drives away sponsors.

“The issue of VIP card holders and media personnel being refused entry into the stadiums also need to be dealt with next season. At some matches you find media struggling to get entry to do their job and it’s not good for our game. It’s something that you don’t see in some leagues across Africa.

“There is need to hold workshops, training and courses for those who are involved in organising these matches so that they are well informed on what is needed. During cup tournaments there is also need to inform people on what is required, like who is supposed to receive a medal and other important things.

Ndebele highlighted the need for clubs to fully professionalise their operations.

"We also expect our clubs to structure themselves in a manner that attracts sponsors. Sponsors are ready to come on board but there is need for these clubs to run professionally.” - Godknows Matarutse

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