DeMbare count losses of Covid-19 lockdown

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WITH the football season now set to finally start, Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants Dynamos are counting the losses they have incurred due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Initially, the 2020 season should have kicked off in March but was postponed after the government banned all sporting activities and large gatherings.

After almost eight months of inactivity, the government finally gave the PSL the greenlight for a phased return in a mini-league format while teams and support staff have to be isolated in a bio-secure bubble.

However, before the Covid-19 outbreak, Dynamos had invested heavily in building a star-studded side with coach Tonderai Ndiraya bringing in 14 new players.

After a disappointing 2019 Castle Lager Premiership season in which they finished a lowly ninth place, the Glamour Boys were very aggressive in the transfer market. DeMbare signed Partson Jaure, Byron Madzokere, Sylvester Appiah, Nkosi Mhlanga, Taimon Mvula, Tino Chiunye, Takunda Mawarire and Barnabas Mushunje.

The other new players brought in for the 2020 season are Lennox Mutsetse, Tanaka Chidhobha, Juan Mutudza, Albert Eonde, King Nadolo and David Temwanjira.

Most of these players agreed one year contracts and received signing-on fees averaging between US$4 000 and US$5 000. During all the time football has been inactive, the Glamour Boys were obliged to pay the players their
monthly salaries.

At the time the start of the 2020 campaign was cancelled, DeMbare and most clubs had completed most of their pre-season programmes that require substantial financial resources.

“Obviously the pandemic had an effect on our vision and plans, particularly in terms of time lines. We had invested quite a lot with the support of our sponsor Remington Gold.

“You saw us acquiring more players during the preseason and we had gone for the full eight weeks doing
preparations. “We were ready to do duty but then the pandemic struck and everything was derailed. We incurred expenses, some of which were quite unnecessary because the preparations we went through were costly.

They cost a lot of time and resources and all that went down the drain,” Dynamos chairperson Isaiah Mupfurutsa told the Daily News on Sunday last week.

With the government insisting that the game will only return after adoption of the bio-secure bubble concept, the costs associated with this will be astronomical for most clubs, Dynamos included.

The model would see all the PSL players, coaches and team, league and media personnel packed into one “bio-secure” place without contact with the outside world.

There will be regular testing of all the people in the bubble and no entry to non-essential personnel to ensure preservation of health and safety of those involved. All the games will be in designated venues
with no spectators.

All this will require significant costs to set up and, with the government making it clear they will not support football’s return financially, clubs will be hard-pressed to ensure they meet these tough protocols.

“When the game resumes, we are going to start pre-season preparations again — meaning that we need to do another budget which will also cost us money.

“There are also issues to do with player contracts that are yet to be resolved, which is also a headache for the clubs and the authorities so all these things disrupt your plans, they disrupt your vision.

“We also have a sponsorship contract which runs for a certain period and part of that period has been chewed up doing nothing,” bemoaned Mupfurutsa.

While most clubs have struggled, DeMbare chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze was thankful to sponsors Remington Gold for their support during the lockdown.

“Football is a game of activities drawn from a calendar which has league games, cup games, training sessions, pre-season camps, end of season tours etc.

“We have players, technical and office staff, they expect obviously to have their families looked after through earnings that they get from football.

“So given that we have not had any football since March this year, it has been kind of difficult to meet all the obligations but we are thankful to the sponsors for making sure that we are able to see the next day in
terms of our obligations.”

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