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THE Premier Soccer League have dug in on the clash between ZIFA and the clubs and last night insisted that they would not postpone matches for those teams who have players on national Under-23 duty.

Some Premiership clubs such as CAPS United, How Mine and FC Platinum have refused to release their key players to the Under-23 side that will face Cameroon in an All-Africa Games qualifier at Rufaro on Sunday.

The clubs argue that they are not compelled to release the players because the match is not on the FIFA calendar for international matches.

Last night the clubs got the backing of their league with the PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele revealing that the release of the players would only be by mutual consent between the Young Warriors and the respective teams.

Ndebele said the PSL was facing a congested programme this year and could not afford too many interruptions to the fixture.

The PSL chief executive said the league would only shelve their league and cup fixtures when it is the Warriors who are playing.

Usually when a club has three or more players on national duty the league matches are not played during that particular weekend or the affected clubs have their matches postponed.

But Ndebele said for this season they would have to do things differently.

The PSL have however, ensured that there will be no matches in Harare on Sunday to avoid a counter attraction with the Young Warriors fixture.

“We have too many matches this season so we are not going to postpone matches for a club that would have three players involved in national team commitments.

“What we are looking at and considering are matches that will fall under FIFA dates.

“For other matches it is up to the clubs to release their players and negotiate with the coaches but when the match falls on a FIFA date we will not fixture any game.

“We have to appreciate the congestion. We have AFCON, FIFA World Cup, CHAN and from October to November there are about two free weekends per month.

“And if you look at the CAF calendar this time around it is a bit different with matches on weekends and mid-week so it is a tight call and we are trying to cover as enough ground as possible,” Ndebele said. On the domestic front, Ndebele said they also have a number of tournaments and cups they have accommodated while CAF are still to confirm the CHAN fixture programme.

“We have a four-team tournament the Gushungo Victory Cup. Last year it featured two teams and it is supposed to be coming in July. We have been asked to plan for it so we have put it on our programme.

“There is another cup Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Trophy and we have planned for it. We also have the NetOne Top Eight and the Chibuku Cup on our programme.

“The only missing dates are the CHAN qualifiers and after we get that we will publish the full calendar for this season. But the CHAN qualifiers as PSL we fully honour that because it is our tournament which caters for clubs playing in the local leagues so even the matches would not be fixtured whenever the qualifiers are being played even if the tournament is not on the FIFA calendar”.

Meanwhile, the Zifa Grounds Committee yesterday inspected Sakubva and Vhengere stadium ahead of the new season which begins on Friday.

However, the report on these venues would only be concluded by next week. This weekend all the matches will go ahead as they were scheduled on Week One fixtures.

New-boys Dongo Sawmills want to use Vhengere stadium in Rusape while Sakubva is home to Buffaloes but is yet to be certified for this season due to poor conditions there.

Nyamhunga Stadium which has been under renovations since last season is also not yet available for use and last week the grounds committee went there and gave Kariba Town Council a dossier of their minimum requirements.

Ndebele said they are expecting the Premiership clubs to submit which stadia they would be using this season as home grounds as well as their alternative.

“We are finalising that. We gave the clubs forms to complete in which they would give us their home and alternative stadium and this is expected to be completed by month end.

Ndebele said they would push to have two rounds of matches during the Easter holidays with matches on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Fixtures:

Tomorrow: Harare City v Tsholotsho FC (Rufaro, 3pm SS).

Saturday: FC Platinum v Dongo Sawmill (Mandava), Chicken Inn v Flame Lily (Luveve), Dynamos v Buffaloes (National Sports Stadium, 3pm SS), ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Gwanzura)

Sunday: Triangle United v (Hwange (Gibbo), How Mine v Chapungu (Luveve), Whawha v CAPS United (Ascot).

Source : The Herald

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