just a week before the commencement of the 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) action, the league’s chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele has said while they will expect to see more fans on the seats, a decision on the gate charges will be made by the league’s governors when they meet for the annual general meeting set for 17 March.
This year’s local elite league football matches are set to resume on 18 March after a curtain raiser Castle Challenge Cup match that will be played at Mandava Stadium on Saturday.
The Castle Challenge Cup will feature four-time league champions FC Platinum and 2022 Chibuku Super Cup winners Bulawayo Chiefs.
Chiefs earned the ticket for their maiden appearance in the Castle Challenge Cup after they beat Herentals 1-0 in the Chibuku Super Cup final courtesy of an Arthur
“Diego” Musiyiwa solitary strike.
“The gate charges will be decided by the Premier Soccer League board of governors at the annual general meeting which is scheduled for March 17 before the start of the season. Remember we reduced the gate charges for the Chibuku Super Cup final to US$1 for the rest of the ground tickets.
“We had good numbers. We are at US$2 for the Castle Challenge Cup final and we are also looking at US$1 for secondary school students or tertiary school students in uniform. We will try that and see the response, but what is key for us is to work hard in terms of communication and in terms of marketing not only as a league, but the whole family of the Premier Soccer League,” Ndebele said.
The veteran football administrator added that despite operating in a competitive environment they had done their homework and they were expecting to: “See more bums on the seats. Everyone would like to see numbers.
“We are in a competitive and challenging environment. We did our strategic plan; looked at our weaknesses, we looked at the threats so along the way we should be taking corrective measures.”
In the past season, PSL reduced the lowest ticket for the rest of the ground to $3 from $10. However, various local football stakeholders that included fans, clubs and coaches felt the charges were still exorbitant.
Stakeholders who included fans and coaches still called for a further reduction.
Turning to the Castle Challenge Cup tie Ndebele said while they were expecting to witness an exciting grand finale there was a need to greatly organise for fans’ safety and security.
“For us, exciting means the fans are happy. But for us, we are looking at the organisational set-up, how we organise and how the clubs organise for the safety and security of fans. So, we are looking forward to a successful event,” said Ndebele.
FC Platinum have dominated the cup contest, winning all the editions since 2017. The Zvishavane-based outfit beat Herentals in the inaugural edition and retained the trophy in 2018 with a 2-0 triumph over Triangle United.
The cup challenge was not held in 2019 as PSL resolved to have the competition played before the start of the season, hence the 2020 edition that featured FC Platinum and Highlanders.