Impande Football League
|Headquarters||Empandeni, Baghdad Shopping Centre|
|Kudzani Ndlovu (League Co-ordinator|
Football in Zimbabwe cannot be fully developed without reaching all areas of the country, that is, looking beyond clubs and talent in the big cities but also looking to tap talent in the rural communities as well. The Impande Football League has been established in a bid to promote and develop football talent in and around the Empandeni area in Plumtree. The league is meant to cater for less-resourced rural communities by affording them a chance to realise and nurture their footballing talents.
The league came about after extensive consultations among football teams and football followers in and around the Empandeni area in Plumtree. There was a consensus that the best way to develop talent in the area would be through the formation of a professional and organised league hence the formation of Impande Football League. This idea was first discussed in 2017 and on 23 December 2019, the first ever Impande Football League Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at Empandeni Mission. The main idea to the setting up of this league is to have a league that accommodates football talent in remote areas and less-resourced communities and rural communities in particular. The current ZIFA model only favours well-resourced clubs and they therefore, saw the need to create an alternative to the current ZIFA model.
This is an alternative that will establish leagues that are confined to certain geographic areas so that teams with limited resources can also enjoy football and players from these communities can showcase their talent. Talent is not only restricted to urban areas and this development is meant to ensure that rural football is organised with proper governance structures. The league will be for senior teams, but each team will be required by the constitution to field at least three players that are Under-18 in every game and at least five players Under-18 in their respective squads.
The league's constitution was adopted at the Annual General Meeting held on 23 December 2019, and the first League Management Committee was elected. The constitution states that the League Management Committee will comprise of six members who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the league. The members are Chairman (Menrand Sibanda), Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Fixtures Secretary, Disciplinary Secretary and Treasurer.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Zimbabwe is a football loving community. Every weekend between February and November is soccer galore in this league. The teams won't be using the popular stadiums such as Rufaro Stadium in Mbare, the National Sports Stadium, Gwanzura, Babourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, Mandava in Zvishavane, Colliery in Hwange, and Mucheke in Masvingo because they can't afford the costs attached to them and the idea of providing recreational services to their local communities will see them utilising their local community grounds. The matches will be played on a home and away basis.
The games will be played during weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) once every fortnight. Perhaps the reason being the need to allow the soccer loving public an opportunity to concentrate on the games when they are not committed to work related business which is usually Monday to Friday. The games will kick off on 8 February 2020 when the league is finally launched at Baghdad Business Centre ,starting with a double header featuring Baghdad vs Silima, and Mhlotshana vs Matankeni. The rest of the week one games will be played weekend of 15 February 2020. The traditional kick-off time in Zimbabwe is 1500 hours.
The league will be made up of 10 teams from different parts of the Empandeni Area of Plumtree.
2020 Teams in the League
- Mhlotshana FC
- Kwite FC
- Phakamani FC
- Baghdad FC
- Linda FC
- Silima FC
- Matankeni FC
- Mkhayeni FC
- Mvalweni FC
- Hanyani FC
Promotion and Relegation
Every year there will be a demotion and promotion affair which takes place in the league. The team occupying the bottom position will be relegated and one team will be promoted. If more than two teams express interest in joining the league they will participate in playoffs and the winner will be promoted.
The league is owned and run by the ten (10) teams in this league. No corporate sponsors on-board yet.
The top four teams are guaranteed a slot to participate in the Impande Super Cup to be held every year on 24 December.