Once again, and probably not for the last time, the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League has been subjected to bad advertisement.
Football fans in Zvishavane were treated to free drama yesterday after one team showed up at Mandava Stadium, did all the pre-match routines, only for the other team to not show up.
Premiership debutants Sheasham were scheduled to host CAPS United at Mandava, after the Premier Soccer League (PSL) made a controversial decision to ban Bata Stadium —the home of the Gweru-based side, from hosting top-flight games.
Bata had been given the green light to host PSL matches by the ZIFA First Instance Body (FIB).
The local licensing body okayed Bata and listed areas which needed attention while the City of Progress continue to open its doors for Premiership football again.
In fact, the John Nyikadzino-coached side even hosted Highlanders at Bata on May 7, before the PSL overreacted to a picture which circulated on social media showing parts of the facility still under construction, and banned it.
Strangely, the PSL, which has no jurisdiction to either green-light or ban a stadium as far as top-flight football is concerned, overturned the decision of the FIB.
The PSL, unless the laws changed and have now been re-written in invisible ink, have no jurisdiction to override a decision made by the FIB.
The Farai Jere-led PSL executive then announced that Sheasham would host CAPS at Mandava —the stadium the Construction Boys were temporarily using as their home venue before the homologation of Bata.
To make matters worse, Acting ZIFA Chief Executive Officer Xolisani Gwesela, for reasons best known to him, wrote to Sheasham “urging” the Premiership newboys to host CAPS at Mandava “in the interest of football.”
For someone who is part of the FIB, Gwesela, with the respect to the veteran football admistrator, sounded like a broken record, particularly in the context of highlighting areas of Bata which needed to be addressed.
Why was Bata intially given the green light by the same FIB, whose member is now saying those areas require attention before the facility can be allowed to host league matches?
Sheasham requested the postponement of the clash citing financing incapacitation to host it at Mandava, but the PSL insisted the match would go, at the Zvishavane facility.
Naturally, CAPS, who had already travelled for the game, showed up at Mandava but there are more questions than answers to the debacle.
i) Who booked Mandava Stadium?
ii) Who opened the Mandava gates for CAPS United?
iii) Who hired Police details and paid for everything needed for the game, when the home team, which is responsible for that, did not do so?
iv) How do we explain the fact that Bata Stadium hosted Highlanders —arguably the most followed team in Zimbabwe, but was deemed not fit to welcome CAPS United days later?
v) When is the PSL staging another roadshow in Gweru, to tell football fans in the City of Progress, that the same facility they were being encouraged to throng ahead of the Highlanders game, is not fit to host league matches?
vi) When are we going to admit that the PSL is clearly offside on this fiasco?