Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Premier Soccer League will relegate four teams and promote winners of the four Zifa regional Division One leagues, according to Zifa Southern chairman Musa Mandaza.
He said the four regional leagues’ heads agreed that the winners of their respective championships will earn a direct ticket to the PSL.
Following a compromise by the PSL at the beginning of the year which saw two more teams being added to the topflight to bring the number to 18, there were indications that four teams were going to be relegated at the end of 2017 with winners of the regional leagues clashing in promotional play-offs.
Mandaza quashed the possibility of play-offs.
“There won’t be play-offs. We can’t continue going back. At the end of the year the winners from the four regional First Division leagues will get automatic promotion into the PSL. That’s what we’ve agreed on,” said Mandaza.
“The only time when two teams will be promoted into the PSL is when there is a National First Division League. Right now there’s no National First Division League, which is provided for in the constitution, and hence we can’t talk of two clubs going into the PSL. This relegation and promotion issue, which has been a thorn in the flesh for sometime, will be ironed out at the Zifa annual general meeting.”
Zifa is yet to announce a date for the AGM.
There were suspicions that the Zifa regional chairpersons are using the PSL relegation and promotion subject as an electioneering tool, but Mandaza scoffed at it.
Zifa is set to hold elections next year.
“Election or no election, football must spread across the country. Last year when we fought for four teams to be promoted, were there elections? Let me say again, when the economy improves and it happens that a sponsor is found for the National First Division League, then and only then are we going to have two teams promoted into the PSL,” Mandaza said.
In January, the PSL governors unanimously resolved to endorse the Zifa extraordinary general meeting resolution to promote four teams and relegate two Premiership teams, putting to finality the contentious issue that had dragged since November 2016.
The PSL governors also resolved to withdraw its case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport while the emergency committee was tasked with engaging Zifa on the issue of the league’s chairmanship and perceived interference by the national association.
The relegation and promotion matter also claimed the scalp of league and Highlanders’ chairman Peter Dube, who was slapped with an indefinite suspension.
Dube was accused of contravening Article 1.15 of Schedule 11 of the Zifa Rules and Regulations by unlawfully interrupting formal proceedings during the Zifa congress in October 2016. He was also charged with inciting chaos by urging PSL club representatives to denounce lawfully made resolutions.
However, in a video clip posted by freelance journalist Thandazani Zimbwa on Facebook in February, allegations of disrupting the congress were not evident, as the clip starts with Chiyangwa giving Dube the platform to address Zifa councillors.
Meanwhile, two out of the four teams that were promoted into the PSL, Shabanie Mine and Yadah FC, played to 0-0 draws against Caps United and Harare City respectively in the first weekend of the Premiership.
The other two, Bantu Rovers and Black Rhinos lost their respective matches 0-5 and 0-1 to Chicken Inn and Ngezi Platinum Stars respectively.