Ndiraya, Dodo, Harrison pin hopes on PSL bubble

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AFTER a considerably long period on the sidelines, coaches of the big three clubs — Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United — hope the domestic football season will soon kick off amidst the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

This comes as government revealed it is currently working on a roadmap with the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the game returns after a six-month break.
The 2020 season should have commenced in March but it had to be aborted after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown and banned all sporting activities to limit the spread of the virus.
Speaking during a media briefing earlier this week, Sports minister Kirsty Coventry revealed they were looking at implementing a bubble concept like the one used in the NBA, international cricket and in the South Africa PSL in order for the domestic game to resume.
The model incorporates a lot of logistics as all players, coaches, team personnel, media and match officials have to be housed in a secure environment and are not allowed to mix with the outside world.
There will also be regular testing of all those in the bubble while matches will have to take place behind closed doors.
This will require a lot of planning, resources and discipline from the all those involved which might take a long time to put in place.
Highlanders coach Mark Harrison, who is currently in his native England after agreeing terms with his club following the outbreak of coronavirus, hopes the government and the football authorities will be able to implement all the necessary provisions for the concept to work.
“The bio bubble concept is obviously not an easy thing to control. It’s going to take a lot of dedication and work for a lot of people. It’s obviously important that they do try to get football off the ground as quickly as possible, it’s a national game and a lot of people are missing it; players, coaches, fans etc.
“So, if it can work, it will be a great thing but like I said, it has to be controlled and so there is a lot of work probably to be put on the ground by a lot of people and it means a lot of hands together. My hope is that it does work and gets off the ground,” Harrison told the Daily News yesterday.
CAPS United coach Darlington Dodo is equally excited by the prospect of football returning but has his reservations over the cost of the model.
“I think it’s a good idea. We have been inactive for quite a long time now and it’s good when these ideas of resuming the game are being thrown around,” Dodo told the Daily News yesterday.
“On the issue of bio bubble concept, I understand it’s expensive and I’m not really sure how we are going to do it though. I think those responsible have done their homework for it to be a success,” Dodo said.
Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya said he is happy there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel after the long hiatus.
“We are keenly waiting and following developments on the proposed bio secure bubble concept by the minister.
“It’s been a long time since we have been able to do what we know best, what we are good at; coaching and playing football. It is our wish and hope that there will be positive responses from those given the task to look at this whole thing,” Ndiraya told the Daily News yesterday.
The DeMbare gaffer said the past six months have been challenging as they have presented unique and unprecedented challenges.
“It’s been difficult for us to be quite honest; we have just been lying idle and our players have just been restricted to doing personal training at home, something they are not used to. So, we will be excited on the day to go back to the stadium. It will be awesome really.
“Most players and coaches know nothing except football and it has been difficult for them and just being given the chance of going back to work again, is really exciting. We miss the stadium environment, we miss our training, and we miss the competition,” Ndiraya said.

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