It’s a tall order for local clubs . . . as they say return to play protocols are too costly  

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Nigel Matongorere

LOCAL clubs have acknowledged that it will be difficult to implement all the recommendations that have been prescribed by the Zifa and PSL Medical Committee to ensure football resumes amidst the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The 2020 domestic season should have commenced in March but was postponed after the government banned all sporting activities as a measure to stop the spread of the novel virus.
Zifa president Felton Kamambo recently revealed that the association has earmarked September 14 as the date for teams to start training while matches have been slated to commence in mid-October.
However, before any of this takes place, Zifa has to submit their return to play protocols to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) for vetting before they are granted government approval for the game to resume.
The health protocols and guidelines that the medical committee are recommending will require clubs to fork out a substantial amount of money.
Some of the things that have been recommended include regular testing of all players, coaches, support staff and individuals that will be involved in training sessions and matches.
There should be temperature checks, sanitiser stands and regular surface disinfection at end of training day.
Each team should be assigned a designated Covid-19 tester or screener, who should be available at the training facility.
Dynamos chairperson Isaiah Mupfurutsa told the Daily News that although they are looking forward to the resumption of the domestic game, putting in place the necessary infrastructure will be cumbersome.
“What is happening is very clear; this will bring more costs to the clubs to add to the more expenses we are already faced with,” Mupfurutsa told the Daily News.
“I think we will be able to adhere to all the health guidelines that have been prescribed and put in place the necessary resources permitting; if the money is there, we are very keen to play football.
“We are supposed to get some funds from Zifa but I do not think it will cover all the expenses that we need to meet.
“In terms of personnel, we are a huge institution and we will reassign our staff to some of the new roles that we need to fill; it’s only a matter of training them on what they are supposed to be doing.”
Another top-flight club official said the delay by the medical committee in releasing the guidelines has created a lot of bottlenecks for the teams.
“We tasked the medical committee to come up with these guidelines a long time back.
“It is disappointing to note that the committee completed that task way back but refused to release it,” said the official.
“It’s only now that there are upcoming national team and Champions League games in November; they have released the document and it seems they are taking orders from Zifa.
“If they had released the document in August, we would have made inroads — putting in place everything they are asking for; a whole month has been wasted.
“We are now running around and there is a huge possibility that most teams will not be able to meet the deadline of September 14 they are talking about.”
Reigning champions FC Platinum, who were anticipating to play in the African Champions League which starts in November, were already at an advanced stage of preparing for football’s resumption.
“You know that at Mandava Stadium there is full-time staff stationed there.
“In terms of things like sanitising, disinfecting and thorough cleaning, everything is in order,” Pure Platinum Play spokesperson Chido Chizondo told the Daily News.
“When the Caf regulations were released earlier this year, we began working on some of the things that they recommended.
“By and large, we have covered a lot of ground and we will be able to host our training sessions and matches at Mandava once we get the green light that football is coming back.”

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