Jere's Green Revo­lu­tion:

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Rob­son Sharuko Se­nior Sports Edi­tor

FARAI JERE hasn’t unleashed a tsunami, but he says his quiet green revo­lu­tion — built on the val­ues of elim­i­na­tion of chaos, bring­ing in more spon­sors and trans­form­ing the top-flight league into a vi­brant en­tity — is well and truly un­der­way in the do­mes­tic Pre­mier­ship.

Some ex­pected the Harare busi­ness­man to make sweep­ing changes, in­clud­ing ax­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Kenny Nde­bele and some of his staff, af­ter he rode on a wave of sup­port from the big clubs to win a close bat­tle to be­come the sub­stan­tive PSL chair­man.

But the CAPS United boss in­stead chose diplo­macy and con­ti­nu­ity and has been reach­ing out to those who didn’t back him while also elim­i­nat­ing the ac­ri­mony that strained re­la­tions be­tween the top-flight league and ZIFA.

He has also been qui­etly meet­ing with a raft of spon­sors to try and un­lock the true value of the league and has been lead­ing a cru­sade which will see the do­mes­tic top-flight cal­en­dar shift from the tra­di­tional March-November into one whose pro­gramme starts in Au­gust and ends in May. To­day marks ex­actly two months since the ma­jor­ity of the

PSL clubs in­vested their con­fi­dence in Jere to lead them for the next four years and yes­ter­day he spoke about un­leash­ing a green rain­bow of light, rather than a tsunami of dark­ness, in his first 60 days in of­fice.

He also spoke about:

◆ The ur­gent need for the league’s Big Three — Dy­namos, High­landers and CAPS United — to find their com­pet­i­tive edge again to boost spec­ta­tor in­ter­est in the top-flight, say­ing Bosso’s resur­gence in the first half of the cham­pi­onship race showed the im­pact this can have on bring­ing fans back to the sta­di­ums. ◆ The need to im­prove the brand vis­i­bil­ity of those who have been walk­ing with them, like their prin­ci­pal part­ners Delta Bev­er­ages, through ini­tia­tives that will see the spon­sors gain­ing the mileage that their in­vest­ment de­serves. ◆ Direct sup­port of clubs that would be rep­re­sent­ing the league and coun­try in CAF in­ter-club com­pe­ti­tions to help them suc­ceed and, in the process, boost the pro­file of both the league and the name of the coun­try. ◆ Com­ing up with mea­sures that will en­sure the league re­wards and re­tains some of its de­cent talent rather than be­come one that con­tin­ues to off­load any bright spark that comes along to other for­eign leagues as this has con­trib­uted to a drop in spec­ta­tor in­ter­est. ◆ Trans­form­ing the do­mes­tic foot­ball land­scape from one dom­i­nated by the fric­tion and chaos bred by board­room wran­gles, which have pushed away some po­ten­tial part­ners, into an oa­sis of tran­quil­lity which would be a mag­net to spon­sors to come on board. ◆ Acquisition of land where the league will build its head­quar­ters giv­ing it a face that can ap­peal to po­ten­tial in­vestors and also pro­vid­ing it with the mus­cle it re­quires to use as se­cu­rity if need arises to bor­row fund­ing from fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to fi­nance its pro­grammes. “Some peo­ple might sug­gest that we haven’t done any­thing yet but l am some­one we prefers to do the act­ing rather than the talk­ing and those that l have been work­ing with in the past two months will tell you that we have moved moun­tains,” Jere said.“We have cho­sen not to go about our busi­ness broad­cast­ing ev­ery­thing that we have been do­ing be­cause we want to get things mov­ing on the ground and we have cov­ered a lot in th­ese first two months.

“The co-op­er­a­tion and unity among the Gover­nors has gone a notch higher and we are now united for the cause of our league and we march­ing in the same di­rec­tion be­cause the first mis­sion was to reach out to each other to heal the divi­sions brought by the elec­tions.

“We have done that and l have been impressed with the way our chief ex­ec­u­tive and his team have pro­vided us with sup­port and l can tell you that th­ese are guys who have a se­ri­ous com­mit­ment to see the league suc­ceed and we are go­ing to pro­vide them with the right lead­er­ship.

“We have al­ready reached out to ZIFA so that we bring our two con­sti­tu­tions in line with each other to avoid the un­nec­es­sary fric­tion which has dom­i­nated our re­la­tion­ship in the past be­cause our quest is to suc­ceed rather than to fight.

“We have also en­gaged a num­ber of spon­sors to try and bring them on board be­cause the league needs their back­ing for it to thrive and be com­pet­i­tive and l can tell you that ne­go­ti­a­tions are go­ing well and there is a rain­bow of hope.”

While con­grat­u­lat­ing FC Plat­inum for reap­ing re­wards for their pro­fes­sion­al­ism by win­ning a sec­ond straight league cham­pi­onship, Jere said it was im­por­tant that the tra­di­tional Big Boys also raise their game from next sea­son.

“FC Plat­inum were ex­cel­lent and Ngezi Plat­inum also de­serve spe­cial men­tion be­cause th­ese two clubs showed ev­ery­one the value that can be driven from pro­fes­sion­al­ism,” said Jere.

“It’s a wake-up call to the tra­di­tional gi­ants that things have changed and they have to do more to win sil­ver­ware and that’s why l am say­ing we need to see a com­pet­i­tive Dy­namos, a com­pet­i­tive CAPS United and a com­pet­i­tive High­landers to make things ex­cit­ing.

“We can’t be blind to the fact that when th­ese Big Three are fir­ing on all cylin­ders and bat­tling on all fronts in­ter­est in the league is boosted and more fans come to our sta­di­ums be­cause Bosso showed that in the first half of the race with big at­ten­dance fig­ures at their matches.

“The other day l was read­ing com­ments from the English Pre­mier­ship chief ex­ec­u­tive Richard Scu­d­amore when he said that Manch­ester United’s chal­lenges since Sir Alex Fer­gu­son re­tired have af­fected the ap­peal of his league and l couldn’t agree with him more even though l am an Arsenal fan.

“Sadly, that’s the way it is and that’s the re­al­ity that when Manch­ester United are do­ing well the English Pre­mier­ship is in good health and that is also true in South Africa with Kaizer Chiefs and Or­lando Pi­rates.”

Jere said ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Harare City Coun­cil for acquisition of land where the league could build its new head­quar­ters were on-go­ing and en­cour­ag­ing.

“We have come in with a clear man­date and that is to de­velop the league and not to score marks as rebels who only thrive in chaos and we are not go­ing back in that di­rec­tion,” he said. “Our vision is premised on re­spect for

ZIFA and a re­lent­less quest to im­prove the wel­fare of our mem­ber­ship while also boost­ing the value of our league and its part­ners and we be­lieve we are in the right path.

“Those who are used to see­ing chaos as a way of life will be dis­ap­pointed with our ap­proach but that’s the path we have cho­sen and af­ter four years we will pa­rade its fruits.”

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