PSL blamed for Econet snub

When Highlanders won their last PSL title in 2006, they went through the embarrassment of getting an empty trophy as their “prize” because the league had no sponsor that season.

Never again - Econet’s  Douglas Mboweni
Never again – Econet’s Douglas Mboweni

That went down as one of the worst PSL seasons in recent years – one in which the PSL fared no better than a boozers’ league because poor administration had frustrated its major sponsor, Econet Wireless.

The giant cellular network provider had poured millions into the game and promised to even better the stakes in the coming seasons, but a tussle between the league and Caps United over the Harare side’s individual sponsorship with Econet’s rival, Net-One, put paid to those big dreams for the local game.

The PSL failed to stamp its authority over which logo Caps should have worn at the front of their jerseys and that resulted in the botched deal. Following Econet’s declaration that it would not sponsor local soccer any more, fans and commentators blamed the PSL’s failure to rein-in a club in a way that would have seen it retain its major sponsor and attract more.

In South Africa, where the country’s biggest cellular network Vodacom sponsors traditional giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, while their biggest rival, MTN sponsors the Top8 tournament, nothing of the sort has been experienced and more sponsors are pouring in.

Former broadcaster, Ezra “Tshisa” Sibanda, believes that the PSL has digressed from the founding ideals of Chris Sibanda and Morrison Sifelani, which were mainly to empower clubs and make them self-sustaining.

“The league started very well and clubs were benefiting from gate takings and sponsorship. We had companies coming on board to sponsor football because the league was run professionally and by professional people. Problems surfaced when some jealous and naive football wannabes started to create some confusion, interfering with the sport using their political connection to run things their way,” said Sibanda.

“Those teams attract tens of thousands of fans every week, but struggle because the little remittance they get from their gate takings is cruelly taken away from them by the so-called football authorities running the game,” he added. Sibanda questioned where the money collected by Zifa and the SRC from clubs for years had gone since it is apparently not being used for football development.

“Teams struggle to participate in CL and one would expect ZIFA and PSL to chip in and help using the money they are taxing the clubs. Football in Zimbabwe is going backwards and getting worse thanks to poor management. It is marred by corruption, incompetency, match-fixing scandals, political interference and above all lack of knowledge for the game.”

Post published in: Football
  1. Tapiwa Maneta

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