By Tadious Manyepo
SIX Zimbabwean players were part of the 58th edition of the Zambian Super League whose transitional season kicked off last Sunday but there are no plans back home for the Zimbabwean league to shift to the internationally-conforming August to May calendar.
The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) last year sought to align their timetable with other international associations and resolved to move from the traditional March-November to the August-May schedule.
The CAF competitions which are currently underway, having kicked off in December last year, have already taken that route.
And the Zambian Super League have also streamlined with the continental mother body.
They have delinked their league, grouping the 20 teams in the top-flight into two pools of 10 each which will battle for supremacy and survival in the short transitional season before adopting the August-May diary.
An increasing number of Zimbabweans are becoming interested in the Zambian league and this season, six players will be battling it out in different streams of the transitional format.
The duo of Lusaka Dynamos’ Ocean Mushure and Dennis Dauda are in the same Stream A with Tafadzwa Rusike who plays for Zanaco as well as Winston Mhango who recently signed for Kabwe Warriors.
Jimmy Dzingai’s Power Dynamos are in the same Stream B with Tatenda Mukuruva’s Buildcon.
Mukuruva is the only survivor of the Zimbabwean quartet which joined the ambitious Builcon last year.
Partson Jaure, Nqobizitha Masuku and Devon Chafa are all back home and will not be part of the transitional season.
But, Zimbabwe will have to wait a little bit longer before they can adopt the international calendar.
There were plans, set in motion by the Premier Soccer League chairman Farai Jere, to shift the season but after some marathon deliberations with the game’s stakeholders, it was resolved that the country will continue with the traditional path at least for this year.
The tragedy is that the team which wins the league title and that which earns the right to represent the country in the second tier Confederations Cup will wait a long time before they can partake the task.
As it stands, the Zimbabwean premiership will kick-off in March and conclude in November.
Top-flight sides are already preparing with some strengthening their squads ahead of next season.
Jere, however, remains confident the season will be shifted as soon as some sticky logistical issues are addressed.
“I am sure we will shift the season. What we are doing right now is trying to address some of the issues which need attention before we can adopt the international calendar.
“That the season has to be shifted is beyond question. We are definitely going to implement that,” said Jere.
“There are only some areas which we need to look at before we can shift the season. Otherwise we will be shifting soon. We had decided that we would be shifting the season this year and we were going to do it in such a way that players wouldn’t have to rest for a long time as we had engaged some sponsors who were to sponsor some tournaments as part of the transition.
“But, we remain positive that we will be implementing the changes.”
Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi are the only countries whose leagues haven’t followed the international calendar in the COSAFA region yet.