Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
SOUTHERN Region Division One League clubs will know their 2017 season kick-off date after the Zifa Southern Region annual general meeting (AGM) to be held at Homestead Conference Centre in Bulawayo tomorrow.
Musa Mandaza, Zifa Southern Region chairman, said:
“All our affiliates and strategic partners have been notified of the meeting. This is where we will reveal our plans for the year, the budget and when the season will kick off. We will also be welcoming new teams into the league.”
Besides the chairman and treasurer’s reports, members of the Zifa Southern Region are expected to deliberate on the executive’s decision to have 16 teams competing in the First Division.
The move to do away with a resolution to have 18 teams passed in 2015 is meant to improve the quality of competition in the league.
Attempts to implement the resolution of 18 teams last season flopped following the withdrawal of Victoria Falls’ Trumus and the collapse of Nust, who were using the Quelaton franchise.
However, Mandaza said the clubs will have a final say on the executive’s recommendations when they meet for their AGM.
The Zifa Southern Region executive’s proposal may be the right tonic to do away with clubs that fail to fulfil matches.
The league ended with 15 teams last season following the expulsion of ZRP Hwange, who had failed to pay their affiliation fees resulting in them missing more than three league matches.
Victoria Falls Tigers also struggled with travelling and match officials’ allowances towards the end of the season, and were walked over in some matches.
The region’s proposal will mean Ntabazinduna, who finished in 14th place, have been relegated from the First Division.
The other club making way for four teams promoted from the Bulawayo and Matabeleland North Division Two leagues are the disbanded Hwange Juniors.
Chiwororo and Zim Leopards finished first and second respectively in the Bulawayo Division Two League, with Motomoto of Hwange and Victoria Falls’ Mosi-oa-Tunya winning promotion into the First Division from the Matabeleland North League.
Last year the First Division set affiliation fees at $2 500 for old teams and $3 000 each for newcomers.
Player registration fees were brought down from $60 to $20 per player and each club will be allowed to register up to 30 players.