WOMEN SOCCER LEAGUE RETURNS BUT PROBLEMS PERSIST

Veronica Gwaze

Sports Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Women Soccer League is set to return to action with the championship race tentatively set to start on May 11 despite some unresolved issues.

The new developments follow a recent announcement by the ZWSL, on the instructions of ZIFA, of an indefinite suspension of the league, which was due to start on April 13.

The suspension was to pave way for the 16 clubs to fulfil some compliance requirements, which included registering their players on FIFA Connect, pay their affiliation fees, come up with recommended standard player contracts and as well submit their club constitutions.

“We are delighted to announce the official start date for the 2024 ZWSL season, which will be Saturday, May 11th 2024,” reads a statement.

“We are confident that this delay has allowed clubs ample time to finalise preparations.

“Your hard work and perseverance in meeting these important requirements are commendable and position the league for a successful and exciting season.

“The ZWSL remains committed to fostering a thriving women’s football environment in Zimbabwe. We are dedicated to providing a platform for talented female athletes to showcase their skills and contribute to the continued growth of the sport in our nation.

“We encourage all clubs to utilise this time to finalise training schedules, team rosters and any other necessary preparations for the upcoming season.”

There were also reports that Zifa had indicated that US$200 000, which is part of the annual FIFA allocation to Zimbabwe, had been set aside for women football.

From that total, US$40 000 was said to be going towards the payment of officials and league administration while the rest was to be shared amongst the 16 elite league clubs (US$10 000 each).

So far, all this has not happened and clubs have been left in quandary after being asked to conduct player medicals on their own, and as well pay the match officials using their own resources.

Interim committee vice-chairperson, Dumisani Sithole, who is also the Faith Drive Queens director, said clubs were trying to put resources together towards match officials’ payments and the start of the league.

“We are back to the same way things were running under the old executive. Clubs will have to fend for themselves to run the league and, with the challenges rocking women teams, I am afraid some will not be able to fulfil requirements and even the fixtures.

“So far, they have back tracked from their initial promises and asked teams to pay officials for the two opening fixtures, hopefully, they will fulfil their promises from match day three going forward.

“We do not know what also became of the US$10 000 that clubs had initially been promised.”

Ivy Mukanahana, who heads the ZIFA Women’s Football Desk, could not shed light on the issues when reached for comment.

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