Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League
|Motto||More than just a game|
|Founder||Chris Sibanda, Morrison Sifelani and Victor Zvobgo|
|Headquarters||36 Midlothian Avenue, Eastlea|
Board Vice Chairman
Chief Executive Officer
|Kennedy Ndebele, Farai Jere|
|Affiliations||Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA)|
Football in Zimbabwe cannot be fully understood without mentioning the Premier Soccer League. The Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League is the country’s top flight football league which runs every year with about 18 teams from different regions of the country. The football initiative which is the biggest in the country is run by the national soccer governing body; Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) which also falls under the international body FIFA.
Board of Governors
The Premier Soccer League is wholly owned by its 18 Member Clubs who make up the League at any one time, these represent the Board of Governors and they elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman amongst themselves to lead the institution. Each individual club is independent working within the rules of football, as defined by the PSL, Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), CAF and FIFA. The Annual General Meeting takes place at the beginning of each season and each member is entitled to one vote. The current Board of Governors list is as follows:
- Farai Jere (Board Chairman) (CAPS United Football Club)
- Lifa Ncube (Board Vice Chairman) (Chicken Inn Football Club)
- Kennedy Ndebele (Chief Executive Officer - Ex Officio)
- Shackman Chizengwe (Black Rhinos Football Club)
- Lovemore Sibanda (Bulawayo Chiefs Football Club)
- Isaiah Mupfurutsa (Dynamos Football Club)
- Evans Mtombeni (FC Platinum)
- Alois Masepe (Harare City Football Club)
- Kudakwashe Remba (Herentals Football Club)
- Kenneth Mhlophe (Highlanders Football Club)
- Masimba Chihowa (Manica Diamonds Football Club)
- Jermiah Gasitene (Ngezi Platinum F.C.)
- Lovemore Matikinyidze (Triangle United Football Club)
- Everson Chatambudza (Yadah FC)
- Ms Fadzai Chisveto (ZPC Kariba Football Club)
- Watson Matara (Whawha Football Club)
- Douglas Gwite (Cranborne Bullets Football Club)
- Stefan Masina (Tenax Football Club)
- Jerry Sibanda (Bulawayo City Football Club)
2019 Castle Premier Soccer League Standings
Champions from 2000
- 2000 - Highlanders Football Club
- 2001 - Highlanders Football Club
- 2002 - Highlanders Football Club
- 2003 - Amazulu Football Club
- 2004 - CAPS United Football Club
- 2005 - CAPS United Football Club
- 2006 - Highlanders Football Club
- 2007 - Dynamos Football Club
- 2008 - Monomotapa Football Club
- 2009 - Gunners Football Club
- 2010 - Motor Action Football Club
- 2011 - Dynamos Football Club
- 2012 - Dynamos Football Club
- 2013 - Dynamos Football Club
- 2014 - Dynamos Football Club
- 2015 - Chicken Inn Football Club
- 2016 - CAPS United Football Club
- 2017 - FC Platinum
- 2018 - FC Platinum
- 2019 - FC Platinum
- 2020 - No Football Played due to Coronavirus pandemic
It is not an exaggeration to say that Zimbabwe is a football loving community. Every weekend between April and November is soccer galore. 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 are usually full of football activity every Saturdays and Sundays when top flight teams will be rubbing shoulders with each other.
In most instances, the PSL games are played during weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). 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. However on some rare occasions, the games are played during the midweek especially Wednesdays and Thursdays. This provision is usually meant to allow teams with the least number of games to catch up with the others. The traditional kick-off time in Zimbabwe is 1500 hours.
The start of the 2020 season has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic (Coronavirus in Zimbabwe). This saw all sporting and other large gathering activities being banned until further notice so as to control the spread of the pandemic.
The PSL has traditionally been made up of 16 teams from different parts of the country but in the last two seasons the teams have been increased to the current number of 18. There are some teams however which have stood the taste of time as thy have spent successive years in the league. These include the so called Harare Giants teams Dynamos Football Club which has for long been using the Rufaro Stadium as their home ground. There is also Caps United Football Club which has been using the National Sports Stadium in Harare as its home ground. Bulawayo based Highlanders Football Club also known as Bosso is also one of the oldest football teams in the country and has registered considerable success in the game of football. Other teams such as Black Rhinos Football Club, Hwange Football Club and Motor Action have also earned respect in the PSL due to their different successes.
2020 Teams in the League
- Dynamos Football Club
- Highlanders Football Club
- CAPS United Football Club
- FC Platinum
- Ngezi Platinum F.C.
- Triangle United Football Club
- ZPC Kariba Football Club
- Tenax Football Club
- Cranborne Bullets Football Club
- Bulawayo Chiefs Football Club
- Herentals Football Club
- Black Rhinos Football Club
- Manica Diamonds Football Club
- Chicken Inn Football Club
- Whawha Football Club
- Bulawayo City Football Club
- Harare City Football Club
- Yadah FC
At the end of the 2019 season four teams were relegated to their Division One leagues according to their regions. These are: Chapungu Football Club, Mushowani Stars Football Club, Hwange Football Club, and TelOne Football Club.
Promotion and Relegation in the PSL
Every year there is a demotion and promotion affair which takes place in the PSL in Zimbabwe. The last four teams with the poorest results are relegated into the Division One League which is a lower version of the PSL. The four teams automatically give room to new teams which are selected again on the basis of performance. The teams are selected from the First Division Leagues which are Northern Region, Southern Region, Eastern Region, and Central Region. Thus the one outstanding team is selected from each region to enter into the top flight football league in the country.
The local Premier League has over the years has seen different fortunes in as far as sponsorship is concerned. However, the longest marriage that the Premier League witnessed was the beverages giant Castle Lager who have committed its sponsorship for a further three years starting during the 2020 season after the expiry of its current sponsorship deal which started in 2011. This partnership had the provision that the league will also adopt a franchise which would benefit the company’s brand name and products. For this reason, the league is known as the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League throughout the period when the beverages company was the major partner. As part of the sponsorship deal, the beverages company was mandated to pump money into the league by paying a certain proportion of the expenses incurred by the teams.
During the 2014 soccer season, Delta Beverages through its Castle Lager brand pumped about 3.6 million into the soccer league for the whole duration of the season. In return the firm was also given the task to provide the much needed funding for the running of the most popular game. These responsibilities saw the firm sponsoring prizes at end of every soccer season. The prizes included trophies as well as money form the winning teams as well as the runner ups.
There is widespread concern that the PSL has failed to give good upkeep for the talented players. This has resulted in some PSL teams failing to fulfil international games due to players’ strikes as a result of non-payment of allowances. The economic plight which has negatively affected the league has also seen the exodus of talented players leaving the country for South Africa, United Kingdom, and Germany. Some of the players that the PSL has produced include Peter Ndlovu, Moses Chunga, Patson Jaure, Kingstone Nkatha among others.
All clubs were supposed to go through the Coronavirus testing process and submit the results to the PSL offices on 9 November 2020. The Premier Soccer League (PSL) expressed dismay with clubs, who were yet to carry out as well as submit their Covid-19 test results, thus stalling progress on the resumption of domestic football. Only 12 clubs had submitted their results going into the weekend in spite of the fact that the deadline was Monday 9 November 2020.
Teams that are yet to comply with the Covid test requirements include Harare giants CAPS United Football Club, 2015 league champions Chicken Inn Football Club, Black Rhinos Football Club, Triangle United Football Club, Yadah FC and Harare City Football Club. Several teams managed to resume group training after submitting their test results.
“As of Friday 13 November 2020, only 12 out of 18 teams had submitted their results and the rest had not. We are also not aware of the challenges they face, but there should be no excuses because everything was paid for,” PSL CEO Kennedy Ndebele told Standardsport.
“All the clubs were supposed to submit test results by Monday November 9. We hope that by tomorrow (today) all clubs will have submitted so that we can forward the results to the emergency committee, who will then decide on the way forward,” Ndebele added.
Local football has been in the doldrums since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. But plans are in motion to resume football by way of a mini tournament, following a bio bubble concept, which is tentatively scheduled for December 2020.
Ndebele said they are in the process of consulting with stakeholders on how to broadcast matches should the competition resume since fans are not allowed into the stadium. Clubs that have submitted Covid-19 test results: Herentals Football Club, FC Platinum, Highlanders Football Club, Ngezi Platinum F.C., ZPC Kariba Football Club, Whawha Football Club, Tenax Football Club, Dynamos Football Club, Bulawayo City Football Club, Manica Diamonds Football Club, Bulawayo Chiefs Football Club, Cranborne Bullets Football Club.
Proposed Mini-League suffers stillbirth
The proposed mini-league tournament to mark the return of football has suffered a stillbirth after the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) announced that the game can only resume in March 2021 and teams are expected to start training in January 2021. Zifa had previously said it was preparing for a bio-bubble mini-league tournament, but nothing concrete came out of those plans and the announcement on 2 December 2020 virtually scrapped the idea of the tournament.
Zifa had intended to use the mini-league tournament to help prepare locally-based players for the CHAN tournamnet, which kicks off in Cameroon in January 2021, but the chosen Warriors’ squad will have to depend on some other forms of preparation to the players to a certain level of match fitness. However, on Wednesday Zifa wrote to its affiliates inquiring if they are ready to start training in January 2021.
“Following government’s approval for football to return after the Covid-19 break, the (Zifa) executive committee would like to know if you are prepared to start training on the 4th of January 2021. The proposed date for commencement of league programmes is the first week of March in 2021.
“Please bear in mind that the resumption of all football activities is preceded by mandatory Covid-19 testing of all stakeholders, with only Covid-free individuals being allowed to participate, while those found positive should self-isolate,” read a memo from Zifa to all affiliates.
“Football post-Covid-19 brings about new realities for football institutions which you should all brace for. The likelihood of playing in empty stadiums is very high considering that large gatherings are still prohibited.
“Zifa will honour its promise to pay for initial tests for all players as well as paying referees’ fees for the forthcoming season. It is everyone’s responsibility to religiously adhere to standard procedures of operating recommended by the Government, Caf and Fifa.
The only way to convince the Government to gradually allow supporters into the stadiums is by ensuring that football remains Covid free.”
PSL's Grand Plan to Resume Local Football
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has drafted a proposal, which could eventually see resumption of local football for the first time since December 2019 following an outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a leaked document making rounds on social media platforms, believed to have been prepared by PSL CEO Kenny Ndebele, the local league came up with a master plan to salvage local football.
“The Premier Soccer League consists of 18 football clubs dotted across the country. To restart football, a competition has to be introduced where intercity/provisional travelling is minimised for purposes of reducing the spread of the coronavirus and cutting costs,” read the document.
It went on to suggest that clubs would be placed in four groups, namely Group 1 comprising five teams to be located in Harare, Group 2 also made up of five teams to be located in Mutare or Mhondoro Ngezi. Group 3 will have four teams placed in Bulawayo and Group 4 with four clubs camped in Zvishavane.
“The teams shall play a round robin competition over a period of 4/5 weeks.
“Top teams from respective groups to proceed to the semi-finals. The winners to meet in the final match to be staged at the venue to be agreed with the sponsors. The matches shall be played behind closed doors,” PSL said.
The document also discusses at length Covid-19 protocols with regard to training, testing and vaccination.
“Clubs must ensure that the protocols are strictly followed. Testing to be done by laboratories registered with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and monitored by the PSL sports medicine committee. The committee will be expanded to have a total of 15 medical doctors.
“Players and officials will undergo PCR Tests before commencement of training and AG tests on a regular basis. Players and officials, who test positive for the Covid-19 virus will be required to isolate as per the health guidelines. Training and match protocols will be prepared and forwarded to respective authorities together with this proposal.
- , Premier Soccer League 2014, "Live Scores", published:September 2014,retrieved:17 Oct 2014"
- S. Moyo, Casle Promises Improved PSL Sponsorship, "The Chronicle", published:26 Nov 2013,retrieved:17 Oct 2014"
- W. Toni, $3,6m for Castle Lager PSL, "Newsday", published:27 Mar 2014,retrieved:17 Oct 2014"
- Munyaradzi Madzokere, , The Standard, Published: 15 November, 2020, Accessed: 15 November, 2020
- Innocent Kurira, , Chronicle, Published: 5 December, 2020, Accessed: 6 December, 2020
- Munyaradzi Madzokere, , The Standard, Published: 7 February, 2021, Accessed: 7 February, 2021