THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) is under fire over the delay in releasing fixtures for the pending 2020 Castle Lager Premiership season.
With the new season scheduled to kick-off next month, the PSL is yet to release fixtures, complicating things for most teams in their preparations for the new campaign.
In fact, the PSL has over the years developed the discredited culture of releasing fixtures one or two weeks before the season starts, a situation that limits clubs to adequately plan in time for the whole campaign.
In more professional leagues, fixtures are released way before the season starts to enable clubs to plan ahead on several aspects that include budget, training programmes and several other logistical plans.
In the Absa Premiership in South Africa, the fixture is usually released at least three months before the season starts.
The English Premier League usually releases their fixtures soon after the completion of the season giving teams enough time to make plans ahead of the new campaign.
At the moment, there are still at least 11 games before the current season ends, but the English top flight league has already announced that the 2020-21 season will commence on Saturday August 8, 2020.
Shortly after the current season finishes on Sunday May 17, the fixture schedule for the upcoming season will be released.
However, here in Zimbabwe, teams are not even aware of the exact date of the start of the new season although it’s expected to be sometime next month.
“You know it’s difficult to plan blindly,” one coach with a PSL team told the Daily News yesterday.
“There are stages in pre-season training that you need to go through which depends on the fixtures of the upcoming season.
“There comes a stage when you need to start implementing specific training sessions according to the opposition you are going to face.
“But in our case, we do not even know which teams we are going to face in the first five games and the season is supposed to start next month.”
It’s not only coaches that are shooting in the dark but club executives and administrators as well are being disadvantaged by the PSL’s delay in releasing fixtures.
“These are important things which people take for granted. Fixtures have a huge bearing on preparations, not only on the field but off the field as well,” one executive said.
“Imagine, with one week before the season starts then the fixture comes out suggesting you have two away matches in the first three weeks.
“It makes life difficult for us to start running around organising travelling logistics. We should be afforded enough time to put our things in place.”
PSL communications manager Kudzai Bare told the Daily News the league is currently seized with registration issues and will release the fixtures after the Annual General Meeting set for March 6.
“Preparations for the new season are at an advanced stage at the moment we are in the process of receiving registration from clubs,” said Bare adding that: “Fixtures will be released after our AGM.”
The PSL is also praying that the Herentals match manipulation case will be brought to a finality before the season commences.