New PSL season: Hopefully not another big yawn again!
AS the clocks tick closer to the start of the 2023 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season, I daresay very few football-loving fans will be eagerly anticipating the return.
The past season started on a bright note before disintegrating into mayhem and never-ending chaos.
Credit, however, should go to serial winners FC Platinum, who defied the odds and staged a wonderful comeback to win a fourth league title on the spin.
Norman Mapeza’s side started the season on a low note, having offloaded a large chunk of their senior players. The former Zimbabwe captain virtually had a new squad in the Mandava Stadium dressing room.
Highlanders, despite a few episodes when their fans let their passion get the better of them, were another side that drew a number of positives.
The Bulawayo giants, unlike any other side in the PSL, managed to draw admirable crowds in nearly all their home games at Barbourfields Stadium.
With the real concern that Zimbabwean domestic football is dying a natural death continuing to linger, as bums disappear from stadium seats in multitudes across the country, the incredible sights and sounds of Barbourfields offer a great deal of optimism for the future.
The same cannot be said of Bosso’s greatest rivals, Dynamos.
The Harare giants, by their lofty standards, struggled for consistency both on and off the pitch.
Boardroom squabbles at the Glamour Boys at one time led to the suspension of coach Tonderai Ndiraya with the team at the summit of the log.
Perhaps by coincidence, the drama was too much for the fans to bear as they chose to stay away from most of their games.
Their neighbours, CAPS United, would also contribute to the comedy that characterised the PSL last season.
The number of times their players downed tools in protest over unpaid salaries and bonuses outdid the number of games they won on the football pitch.
The unruly behaviour at the Green Machine resulted in the sacking of players Ronald Chitiyo, Simba Chinani and Clive Augusto.
Such unwanted headlines symbolised the lows of a game which is reeling under the burden of lack of sponsorship, with Delta Beverages remaining the ever-faithful partner of the game.
That Rufaro Stadium now mirrors a vegetable market just shows how steeply the standards of the local game have plunged.
An equally poor performing economy has increased the burden on individually owned PSL sides like CAPS, Yadah FC and Bulawayo Chiefs.
Probably, the financial quandary of the country is manifesting itself on the field of play, with fans complaining much of the poor quality of the showings.
Over the years, the 2021-22 season could top the ranking when it comes to poor match attendances, with some matches between sides like Yadah and Bulawayo City failing to draw no more than 20 spectators.
Such is the state of affairs, the local game is in dire need of a biblical resurrection from the dead.
The PSL has had time to strategise and come up with concepts that will make football in this country depart from the madness of the 2021-22 season.
Perhaps it is also high time both the Sports Recreation Commission (SRC) buried their selfish egos and started making decisions for the greater good of the game.
Their cockfighting has done more harm than good. What is manifesting in the local game is coming from their blood sport.
*Guest columnist Alwyn Mabehla is a former Daily News sub-editor and football writer who keenly follows Zimbabwean domestic football.