Zifa, PSL clash over fixtures

Jonathan Mshingaidze

Jonathan Mshingaidze

Harare Bureau
PROBLEMS haunting Zimbabwe’s fractious football landscape took another sad twist yesterday with a showdown exploding between Zifa and the Premier  Soccer League after the association directed that mid-week matches scheduled for today and tomorrow should be shelved to pave the way for the Warriors commitments.

The Warriors had been hoping to resume their training camp this morning for their rescheduled African Nations Championships final qualifier first, leg tie against Zambia at Rufaro on Sunday.

But the Warriors’ plans were thrown into disarray after the PSL arranged matches across the country today and tomorrow to shake off nearly five weeks of an unplanned lay-off that has left their member clubs crying foul.

The move to slot in midweek fixtures did not go down well with Zifa who insisted that the top-flight body should have consulted them first and taken note of the fact that the CHAN final qualifier was a big fixture where “the national team ought to take precedence over all other local matches’’.

Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said they were surprised by the league’s decision to arrange fixtures and maintained that the games should be shelved to allow national team players to report for camp.

Mashingaidze’s PSL counterpart Kenny Ndebele was, however, adamant the matches would go ahead and that the message they had communicated to the clubs was that the fixtures were on and the teams were free to use their Warriors players.

As the showdown between Zifa and the PSL exploded,  Warriors coach Ian “Dibango’’ Gorowa also threatened to quit if he was not granted his wish to have his players in camp with the former Moroka Swallows mentor insisting that the magnitude of their CHAN qualifier against Zambia required that his squad spend more time together in camp.

A furious Gorowa argued that getting his players back on Friday would be “tantamount to reducing the national team into a select side that is not serious about its obligations.

The Zifa, PSL stand-off also threw the players into a quandary as they have been caught in a club versus country row.

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