Zimbabwe planning on holding domestic league in bio-bubble

The Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League needs $500,000 to realise its dream of hosting a bio-bubble, the league’s chief executive officer, Kennedy Ndebele, has confirmed to African Football HQ.

“Actually, the doctors are working on the testing process so that teams should start training. We need almost $500,000 if we are to have this tournament in four cities next month,” Ndebele told AFHQ today.

The two-week mini-tournament is meant to make up for the country’s failure to host a domestic season, which runs from March to November in Zimbabwe.

Ndebele said the mini-tournament is designed to keep players in shape ahead of international engagements for club and country.

The league does not have a sponsor yet and it is banking on the support of Zimbabwe Football Association.

The Zimbabwe Sports and Recreation Commission gave the nod to ‘gradual and phased’ resumption of football with effect from October 16 2020 “that football activities will be conducted in the format of a mini-league using the bubble concept.”

The bio-bubble is modeled around the one which recently took place in South Africa. The South Africans, who were able to complete the season with few hitches, proved that the bio-bubble concept is a good idea – although costly.

The bio-bubble cost an estimated R100 million (~6 million USD) in South Africa. Zimbabwe supposedly needs 1/12 of that sum to run the league.

In a statement, ZIFA said it was committed to ensuring that football returns.

“We are optimistic that government and other stakeholders will collaborate with us to allow the safe return of football. We are hoping that teams can return to training by the 26th of October 2020 if all engagements go on smoothly. Thereafter, it has been agreed that six weeks of preparations will take place before actual matches commence. The bubble tournament could not have come at a better time because it will give our Warriors technical team the opportunity to select a competitive squad for the 2021 African Nations Championship (CHAN).”

Zimbabwe has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic relatively well, having confirmed almost 8200 virus cases and 233 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.