The Sunday Mail
AMID all the gloom that has been brought about by a number of challenges that have led to the delayed start of the season, the Premier Soccer League is not resting on its laurels and has set up a medical committee that will also assist with the implementation of Club Licensing tenets.
Apart from the COVID-19 induced suspension of domestic and international sport, the Premiership had been grappling with venues amid revelations that the ZIFA First Instance Board, which is tasked with supervising the grounds, had not certified many of the stadiums for use in the 2020 season.
Two of the promoted clubs — Whawha and Tenax — struggled to raise affiliation fees to enable them to compete in the elite league.
However, the league’s secretariat, determined to ensure they lead from the front in the implementation of Club Licensing, has also put the welfare of players at the forefront by assembling a five-member team of some of the top sports medicine experts in this country.
It is the first time in the history of the domestic top-flight that such a committee has been set up and the move reflects the desire by the PSL to move in line with global trends. PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele confirmed yesterday the appointments of doctors Nicholas Munyonga, Edward Chagonda, Soneni Moyo and Mtokhozisi Moyo and Mutare-based physiotherapist Chido Pfumojena to the medical committee.
“We have the pleasure in appointing you as a member of the Premier Soccer League committee. The terms of reference of the medical committee are as follows:
Develop medical education programmes for the league
Provide medical guidance and advice to the league
Monitor the implementation of the PSL medical regulations
Provide material for football medicine publication
Monitor the PSL anti-doping programme
Draw up proposals regarding the PCMAs in line with the PSL Medical regulations and Club Licensing system
Organise pre-season medical workshops for PSL teams every year
Work in liaison with medical insurance/ aid partners of the PSL and provide authorisations for certain services from time to time
Initiate and monitor studies on football injuries and other related projects
Provide guidelines on general guide to match day minimum medical requirements for each match organised by the PSL,’’ wrote Ndebele to each of the members.
He said the Premiership had noted with concern that critical issues such as anti-doping were not being observed with the seriousness they deserve.It emerged that some top clubs would profess ignorance on the need to have their players subjected to random dope testing at the end of their league or cup games. The establishment of the medical committee is also expected to assist the PSL to fine-tune the benefits and the operation of the agreement they have with Fidelity. In March last year, the PSL entered into an exciting new era after unveiling a three-year sponsorship deal with Fidelity Life Assurance to cater for the medical welfare of players and technical officials. Under the deal, which was pegged at lose to $1 million per season at the time of signing, the players will no longer have to worry about medical bills while those who suffer career-ending injuries are set to get a once-off lump sum.
Ndebele believes that with a team of medical experts in place, it is now a lot easier to “operationalise the Fidelity deal and ensure there are no loopholes that could be abused’’.
Some clubs have also remained archaic and hardly carry out medicals for their players before the start of each season but with the tide of Club Licensing set to sweep across the game this year, the Premiership could be headed for better times.