Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA Southern Region reduced affiliation fees for its clubs, with old teams set to pay 20 percent less than 2016, while newly promoted sides will now pay $2 750, down from $3 000.
Musa Mandaza, Zifa Southern Region chairman, said old teams would fork out $2 000, $500 less than what they paid last season.
Four teams from the Zifa Bulawayo Metropolitan Province and Matabeleland North Division Two leagues were promoted to the First Division.
Chiwororo and Zim Leopards finished first and second respectively in the Bulawayo Division Two League, while Motomoto of Hwange and Victoria Falls’ Mosi-oa-Tunya won promotion from the Matabeleland North Division Two League.
Mandaza said the move to reduce the affiliation fees is meant to cushion the clubs and encourage them to settle their dues to facilitate for the smooth running of the league.
“We realised that most of the teams have gone down owing us (Zifa Southern Region) a lot of money in unpaid affiliation fees. To avoid a situation where the teams find it difficult to pay affiliation fees, we agreed to reduce the levies. Because of the move we’ve taken, clubs must pay at least half of their affiliation fees before the start of the season and then make payment plans that will see them clear the balance by August,” Mandaza said.
He said the 2017 season would start on the weekend of April 15-16.
“The season will start on the second weekend of April and by then we should be done with all player registration. At that time, we also expect all the teams to have paid at least 50 percent of their affiliation fees,” said Mandaza.
He revealed that the clubs agreed to do away with a resolution to have 18 teams passed in 2015 and revert to a 16-team league, which he said would 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.
“I’m happy that the clubs agreed to the executive’s recommendation to reduce the number of teams from 18 to 16 so that we improve the quality of competition in the league. This move is meant to avoid issues to do with walkovers and I’m sure we’re going to have a competitive league,” said Mandaza.