Home » Sports » Let’s Protect Our Psl Brand [opinion]

Events in recent weeks should send a ringing bell to our Premier Soccer League to take a long, hard and good look at ways of protecting the brand many have worked so hard to build.

One thing that PSL leadership and management should realise is that whenever PSL clubs are involved in a tournament the end results, whether positive or negative, affect their brand. There are no amount words disowning a tournament that can absolve them from the repercussions of mishaps that happen as long as PSL clubs take part. The consequences taint the PSL brand whether they like it or not.

One can only imagine how our Premier League would have been like if it had continued to be run and managed by ZIFA. With the benefit of hindsight, many would applaud the group, the late Morrison Sifelani, Chris Sibanda and company that made the decision to wean PSL off from the armpits of direct ZIFA management.

A lot of hard work has been put into making PSL the brand it is today and it would be folly to let it be destroyed by uncouth elements of the society who are bent on personal gains rather than development of the national game. So many have come dressed in sheep’s clothes pretending to be sponsors and partners when all they care about are their selfish end results.

It is a well-known fact that the economy is going through challenging times and most sporting disciplines are facing serious financial challenges such that they grab any pretentious corporates dressed as sponsors that come knocking on their doors.

Regardless, that should not be the reason that we should sell the PSL brand cheap. PSL is a big brand whose value is priceless, and teams like Dynamos, Monomotopa, the now defunct Blackpool and others have enhanced that brand in Africa. And I would like to think that if properly nurtured and guarded jealously it would grow to rival the likes of South African PSL. As it is, though poorer in monetary terms, we are comparing favourably with Super Disk.

So there is a huge need to maintain that momentum and the PSL board and management have a lot to do in that regard.

In my opinion, it is imperative that PSL should set some base standards that would-be suitors should comply with and follow without compromise. Such base standards should be tabled and be debated extensively before they are made into policy.

It is unfortunate that some of these issues might have been raised before but didn’t see the light of the day because of vested interests by those in the higher offices at ZIFA and PSL. This cannot be allowed to continue to happen because it is detrimental to the development and enhancement of the PSL brand. Set policies need to be put in place and no decisions should be based on personal feelings or emotions.

Policies should be set on price money, format, organisation and management for every tournament that would follow under the PSL breath.

We all know that there is no one who can run a soccer tournament better than the PSL people and it is worrying when tournaments involving PSL teams are handled by other people.

PSL has the requisite expertise and experience to run football tournaments and as such all tournaments that involve PSL teams should be handled by them. The ultimate responsibility should fall under them.

My suggestion is whenever sponsors come a sub-committee headed by PSL and including the sponsors should be formed and all the terms and conditions of running a tournament be agreed beforehand. After such agreements have been made the responsibility to run the tournament should be handed over to PSL management. It is that simple because they are the custodians of our premier soccer and they should be accountable for our PSL clubs.

If that happens, it is my thinking, that all the mishaps and chaos that we have been experiencing in the recently held tournaments can be avoided. It’s not a given that if you the money to sponsor a tournament then you have the expertise to run it. You need those with the expertise and experience and in football it is the PSL.

So a policy should be set that all tournaments that involve PSL clubs should be run and managed by PSL according to their set standards.

It is a no-brainer that all teams compete in tournaments for money. The richer the tournament, the harder the battles that are fought. PSL should set a minimum amount for any tournament value that falls under them. We can’t have our clubs participating in tournaments whose value smacks of mockery to the football world.

It is not all opportunities that one should take otherwise your plate will be too full and you wouldn’t to adequately handle all of them. A policy should be put in place that would govern the price money for all types of tournaments that fall under PSL.

My suggestion, very debatable, would be a minimum of $100 000 for a two-team tournament, a minimum of $200 000 for a four-team tournament, a minimum of $500 000 for an eight-team tournament and $1 000 000 for a 16-team tournament.

These figures may seem high in a challenging economic environment but someone has to put a value on the PSL brand. We should also realise that football is the biggest sport in this country and it is the one that brings a lot of people from different backgrounds together. As such the PSL brand should be accorded the value that it deserves.

We can’t have every Tom, Dick and Harry going to bed with such a priceless brand. They devalue our PSL brand. If the football people don’t give value to their brand then who will?

We also need to agree on the format of the tournaments that would fall under the PSL brand. It’s either a two-team tournament, four-team tournament, eight-team tournament or a 16-team tournament and such formats shouldn’t be compromised.

Another issue is to respect the previous season log standings. If it’s a two-team tournament then last season’s top two teams should compete regardless of who they are. The same should go for four- and eight-team tournaments.

We can’t have all tournaments having Caps United, Dynamos and Highlanders only participating just because of their popularity. If we do that then what incentive would other teams have of finishing at the top? We should make our league more competitive by passing the incentives of finishing in a better position on the log to the deserving teams.

The final and most important issue is that the arrangement, organisation and ultimate running of any tournament that involve PSL clubs should be done by PSL itself. It might co-opt the sponsors but the ultimate responsibility and accountability should fall on PSL.

They should be the ones to answer all questions pertaining to the handling of all tournaments involving our PSL clubs. Such responsibility cannot be subordinated to any other individual or group no matter what. If they are any mishaps I don’t think FIFA through ZIFA would ask the sponsors for an explanation? No.

I gly believe that PSL is a big brand that needs to be handled with utmost care. Its value is priceless unless we devalue it ourselves. We should learn from our past mistakes at the same time building on previous successes in enhancing that brand.

At no point should we allow chancers to ride on our beautiful brand. We should protect it with our all for it is the next biggest employer for future generations.

Let’s formulate policies that govern our tournaments and make sure we don’t compromise on them. If we do that all we will have is respect for our brand and only that way it can grow in stature and value.

It’s easier to wade off unworthy suitors through set and documented policy than the mere word “no” because some tend to abuse influential and higher offices. But with a handbook of policy, true leaders are respectful and abiding.

Not all suitors are worthy taking to bed with you. Some belong to the lower leagues and some don’t have any place at all.

Bothwell Mahlengwe is a banker and former Premiership footballer

Source : The Herald