Footballers are struggling and all football stakeholders should come together to reach a consensus on the date for football resumption in Zimbabwe. These sentiments were echoed by Footballer’s Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) secretary-general Desmond Maringwa who argued that players are struggling to make ends meet.
Zimbabwean footballing activities have been put on hold since March when authorities imposed a countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other leagues across the world have since resumed football including neighbouring Zambia & South Africa yet there is still no activity locally. Football teams are only restricted to training in the hope that the sport will resume anytime soon.
The sports ministry had initially allowed the games to restart through a phased approach using the bio-bubble concept.
The bio-bubble is a safe and secure environment that is isolated from the outside world to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection, a bio-bubble permits only authorised sports persons, support staff and match officials to enter the protected area after testing negative for COVID-19.
Naturally, individuals must be regularly tested, temperature checked with respective health reports filed accordingly.
This concept has faced it has faced resistance from Zifa who have trashed it as elitist and expensive.
Initially, Zifa had warmed up to the concept and had undertaken to fund some of the cost centres such as testing of players and payment of referees while engaging other partners on more funding for the resumption of the game. The soccer controlling body has now proposed that leagues resume in March, but Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) insists the return will have to be phased and in a controlled environment.
And FUZ — a union that represents footballers in the country believes delays in football resumption — have had a profound effect on players.
“It is our view that the current rift between Zifa and the SRC is stalling the resumption of the game. While we acknowledge that SRC is empowered to act the way it did when it suspended Zifa CEO Joseph Mamutse and its director-general Prince Mupazviriho, we urge all football stakeholders including government to come together and reach a consensus on the exact date of football restart because there is so much anxiety among players.
They earn a living from playing football and these delays continue to impoverish them. It is thus important for all stakeholders to find common ground and come up with a firm position on the actual date of football resumption,”
said FUZ secretary-general Desmond Maringwa.