ZIMBABWE’S football has finally embraced high profile stakeholder meetings on various issues affecting the country’s most popular sport.
Amongst the stakeholders, Zimpapers has been taking a leading role among the media by hosting two of the three engagements so far this year through television channel, ZTNPrime and Sunday News newspaper.
Issues covered include the state of football in the country, especially the Premier Soccer League and also the scourge of violence that has ruined some PSL games this season.
The most recent indaba, with an international flavour, was held in the capital last Friday included guest of honour Minister of Sport, Art and Recreation Kirsty Coventry, Deputy Ambassador Embassy of Spain Diego Calatayud (special guest), South African football legend Jomo Sono, Enrique Suay Querchfeld from Spain, La Liga Africa director Tresor Penku, and Rui Frois, who is a football agent from South Africa.
Local speakers and panelists included H-Metro editor Robson Sharuko, Premier Soccer League (PSL) marketing and ICT Manager Rodwell Thabe, Highlanders FC Chief Executive Officer Ronald Moyo, Golden Eagles chairman Barry Manandi, FC Platinum Holdings Public Relations officer Chido Chizondo and General Manager Doves Holdings Joel Gombera.
It is said a number of partnerships emerged from the engagement.
However, of importance to Zifa and PSL is to start reviewing their current processes to embrace what all those experts have been recommending at the indabas.
Otherwise they will be money and time wasting talk shows.
South African experts, especially, are convinced that Zimbabwe football has what it takes to be among the best on the continent.
For example, Jomo Sono was at Friday’s meeting and suggested that PSL finds extra tournaments from which they then take 10 percent to run the league.
He also believes a lot can be done to keep member clubs financially viable, which will in turn help develop the game and, ultimately, the national team.
At the ZTNPrime event, Thando Bakumeni, SuperSport’s Acting Senior Manager Africa (commercial), emphasized on the need for the adoption of techniques that help to raise football in Zimbabwe and contributes positively to the growth of the sport.
He said the rapidly evolving landscape of sports and entertainment meant that it has become crucial to identify innovative strategies that can propel football leagues to new height and support the clubs to generate sponsorships and ticket sales, all the while supporting careers in the sports field and creating more funding for sports development.
Guest speaker Stan Matthews from SuperSport also gave many suggestions on the changes PSL can make, including a review of the number of teams that are relegated at the end of every season as he felt four are too many and not healthy for the league.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season concludes this month and hopefully the PSL leadership starts identifying those recommendations that can be implemented next season while also creating groundwork for the long term ones.
That way the country will start benefiting from these high profile engagements.