HomeSportFootballZifa yet to decide on relegation battle

Zifa yet to decide on relegation battle

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WITH the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) nearing the halfway stage, Zifa is yet to decide on the modalities of the promotion of four regional champions to the top-flight league.

WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

There are four regions — Northern, Southern, Central and Eastern — which account for more than 64 teams competing directly for four places in the current status quo within the PSL. And with the PSL taking this stance by the book, it means the 64 teams are competing for just two places.

In South Africa, the 16th-placed team is automatically relegated while the 15th-placed go into play-offs with the two teams that will have finished second and third in the National First Division.

Last season, Golden Arrows were relegated while Polokwane City entered and won the play-offs after getting the better of Black Leopards and Milano United.

In the Barclays Premier League, Burnley and Leicester City were automatically promoted while Queens Park Rangers won the play-offs to return to the top flight.

In both leagues, the existence of one national league makes it easier to administer the play-offs, unlike the current situation in Zimbabwe where Zifa runs four leagues while the PSL, constitutionally, can only absorb two teams.

PSL chief executive Kennedy Ndebele said it was definite two teams will be shown the exit.

“At our constitution-making process with Fifa, the issue of the relegation of the 25% of the teams (four) was addressed and it was agreed that only two teams will be relegated at the end of the season and that is the constitutional provision that exists,” he said.

“The formation of a national league was meant to cater for that and without that national league now, it means Zifa will have to find modalities of coming up with two teams that will replace those that would have been relegated from the PSL.

“Even in the 2009 Harare declaration, which was also done with Fifa, PSL came up with an agreement that two teams would be relegated and so as far as we are concerned, two teams will go down and two will be promoted,” Ndebele said.

Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said the issue would be discussed at the Zifa assembly meeting on July 25. “The issue will be tackled fully at the July 26 meeting,” he said.

But by that time, the league will almost be at Week 18 without teams knowing what would happen at the end of the season. Sources said yesterday four regional champions might take part in a play-off tournament.

As it stands in the Zimbabwe top flight, Chiredzi FC are headed back to the Eastern Region Division One as they have managed only six points from 12 matches and with the problems between team director/coach Moses Chunga and the Charles Muchatukwa-executive mounting by each day, there is very little hope for a project that promised much before the season started.

This weekend, Chiredzi would be away to unbeaten ZPC Kariba at Gwanzura Stadium.

Triangle United made a hasty decision of parting ways with Gishon Ntini, who had led them to a top eight finish in their debut season last year and are paying the prize for hiring a coach — Biggie Zuze — who got Monomotapa relegated last year.

Triangle, who face a tough fixture against second-placed How Mine this weekend, have 10 points from 12 matches and need to start winning, especially at home.

Harare City are in 14th place, having lost seven opening games, but seem to be on the rebound after picking up four points in their last two matches.

This weekend they will face Shabanie Mine at Rufaro Stadium — a match they need to win at all costs.

Black Rhinos have 12 points from 12 matches and are in 13th ahead of a tough fixture against wounded Highlanders at Barbourfields on Sunday.

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