Exciting times for Northern Region Soccer League

24 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Exciting times for Northern Region Soccer League

The Sunday Mail

Sports Reporter

EXCITING times are beckoning in the Northern Region Soccer League (NRSL), with the announcement yesterday that a sponsorship deal with incentives for players and coaches will be unveiled in a fortnight.

NRSL members converged on Harare for an annual meeting.

Their chairperson Martin Kweza said they had secured a corporate partner, who is joining them in a major title sponsorship arrangement that will also include some individual awards.

Kweza revealed they were now tying up some “loose ends” to the deal before making public its finer details.

But the NRSL boss explained that apart from being the title sponsors, their incoming corporate partners would also bankroll a top-eight competition.

The league sponsors will also bankroll the Soccer Star and Coach of the Year awards in which the winners will drive away with cars from the awards gala.

Kweza also announced the introduction of a Charity Shield tourney to be competed for by the teams who will be in the top four at the halfway stage of the season.

This competition, he said, is a rare community social responsibility project by any local football league.

Under the initiative, half of the proceeds will be used to assist current and former players and coaches, who have been loyal to the league but have been struggling to attain some coaching or administration badges.

“We updated our membership and told the assembly that we will be unveiling a new sponsor in the next two weeks once we finalise the signing of the agreement with the sponsor.

“At this moment in time, I cannot release the name of the sponsor until we have finalised the signing of the agreement.

“I can confirm that the sponsorship is for the league and for the top-eight tournament, the Soccer Star of the Year (a vehicle) , and the Coach of the Year (a vehicle) of the league,” Kweza said.

A sponsor for the Charity Shield to be contested for by the top four teams at the halfway stage of the season has been secured.

The NRSL, he said, is ready for the 2024 season and fireworks are expected.

“In the past few weeks, we have noticed an influx of seasoned coaches coming to join our teams and because of the influx of top coaches, I foresee a lot of competition at our matches and more fireworks,” added Kweza.

The NRSL, whose 2023 champions Chegutu Pirates won promotion into the Premier Soccer League, were in the last two seasons easily the most exciting division in the country, with huge crowds following the bulk of their games.

As was the case in 2022 when Simba Bhora, Herentals Under-20 and Golden Eagles fought a riveting battle for promotion, eventual winners Chegutu Pirates and runners-up Black Mambas had a lively race that was only decided on the final day of the season last year.

Kweza said they are expecting the same momentum to continue in 2024, with Mambas set to be among a strong field of teams battling for the top gong, along with Black Rhinos, MWOS, Golden Eagles, Harare City and Herentals Under-20.

“We are also going to be having awards for the Goalkeeper of the Month, Player of the Month and Coach of the Month and we will be having a sponsor for each of those, apart from the Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year awards.

“During the annual meeting, we had all the clubs present where we were planning for our 2024 season which starts on 5 April.”

He said fixtures for the coming season had already been circulated to members, with a blockbuster clash at Ngoni in Norton between Lloyd Mutasa’s MWOS and Nesbert “Yabo’’ Saruchera’s Rhinos opening the season on April 5.

“The assembly confirmed the demotion of four clubs — Commando Bullets, ZRP Harare, Concession and Omnia.

“The assembly also accepted the membership of six teams — two teams that are coming in from the Premier Soccer League, Black Rhinos and Cranborne Bullets — and two teams from each of our provinces, which are Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Harare province.

“From Mash Central, we have Zambezi Gas and Agama; Norton Community and LECC Mhangura from Mash West; and Harare province has Simbisa Brands and DZ Royal,” Kweza said.

With the bulk of the Division One teams having their own facilities, the challenge of stadium availability is limited in the NRSL.

The league’s chiefs are, however, concerned about the lack of discipline that was shown by some teams last season.

Kweza said they have lined up workshops for team managers, security officers and administrators to educate them on the best practices for ensuring a clean and fair game.

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