'Zifa must re-think on relegation'

HARARE - As the Castle Premier Soccer League hurtles to an end with 10 teams in danger of relegation Fifa fear Zimbabwe is shooting itself in the foot by failing to structure its league in line with global trends.

From as high up as seventh placed Highlanders, the mid table teams face the jeopardy of relegation if they are to lose their last three games and results elsewhere do not go their way.

Such a dilemma has drawn surprise from Fifa development officer for Southern Africa Ashford Mamelodi, who was left wondering why Zimbabwe is failing to conform to international best practices.

The English Premier League currently holds 20 teams with the bottom three being relegated.

This is also the case for the Spanish La Liga whilst the German Bundesliga has 18 teams with three facing relegation.

The Absa Premiership in South Africa is made up of 16 clubs with two teams being relegated.

However, Zimbabwe seems to have lost the plot.

“It is surprising,” Mamelodi told the Daily News. “The best practice is to retain your best teams in the league. So something has to be done. Because we respect the league in Zimbabwe, we really think it’s growing very well but they need to take into account these things.

“We really need to remain in touch with the best practices. Because this is a product that we are building and if we weaken it then it lacks the competitive edge.”

PSL chief executive officer Kenny Ndebele said it is heartbreaking and detrimental to the development of the game that 25 percent of the league composition is dissolved each season.

The PSL executive board earlier this year requested the Zifa Assembly to relegate two teams instead of four but that request fell on deaf ears.

“It’s a concern unfortunately they is nothing we can do because this was a Zifa assembly decision,” Ndebele said yesterday.

“You are getting four teams dropping from a 16-team league. It really does not help us. As you can see now over half the teams in the league are in the relegation zone.

“I hope they will look at it and solve it once we meet the club licensing system which will be able to see and get the teams that have the capacity to play in the topflight league.

They had been suggestions of the establishment of a national league which would see two teams dropped and two bring promoted.

However, in the absence of a league, Ndebele felt a play-off involving the four regional winners would have done justice to PSL’s pleas.

“The assembly thought otherwise. But something needs to be done,” Ndebele said.

Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said it was regrettable that the Zimbabwe’s topflight league finds itself in such a predicament.

Mashingaidze assured that this would be the last year the league would have to lose 25 percent of its make up as plans were at an advanced stage to establish a national league.

“We have a Zifa Assembly indaba at the end of November where all these issues will be discussed. We actually have a team working on a national league right now,” he said yesterday.

“We can’t afford to have this happening again otherwise there will be haemorrhage.”

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