Editorial Comment: Use derby to  reignite the PSL Rufaro is ideally placed for the average football fan as they do not have to spend much on transport with commuter omnibuses available for direct transportation from their respective suburbs be it Glen View, Mufakose, Dzivarasekwa, Highfield, Mabvuku, Chitungwiza or Tafara to Mbare where the venue is situated. 

SO, the famous Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Harare derby is upon us with CAPS United being the home team in the first of their 2024 blockbuster clashes against perennial rivals Dynamos. 

 It is a fixture, which for years has traditionally been one that local football fans look up to and, whose dates are often marked on their calendars. 

What makes this encounter even more potentially mouthwatering is that this is the first time that the two Harare giants will be meeting at the ceremonial home of football — Rufaro Stadium in half a decade. 

The stadium had been closed to football for five years, with the last time that Dynamos and CAPS United clashed at the venue being in July 2019 in a game which finished 1-1. 

As we reported earlier in the week, there has been a refreshing build-up to this massive game with fans relishing the return of the derby to Rufaro for a variety of reasons. 

Rufaro is ideally placed for the average football fan as they do not have to spend much on transport with commuter omnibuses available for direct transportation from their respective suburbs be it Glen View, Mufakose, Dzivarasekwa, Highfield, Mabvuku, Chitungwiza or Tafara to Mbare where the venue is situated. 

The grandstands – Vietnam, Western, the Northern and Southern ends – and the playing field at Rufaro are closer to each other, which creates a unique ambience for both fans and players. 

This adds to the excitement both on and off the scene of action at Rufaro, which they cannot enjoy at such places like the National Sports Stadium. 

Interestingly, the Harare derby is ranked among the most famous in Africa and this has always presented a challenge to both Dynamos and CAPS United to preserve the standards expected of this high-profile game. 

As the two teams’ coaches, Lloyd Chitembwe of CAPS United and Genesis Mangombe of Dynamos prepare their sides for the clash tomorrow, we implore ZIFA and Premier Soccer League authorities to unite and make the derby a fixture where fond football memories are made. 

ZIFA on their part must ensure that their Referees Committee chooses the best men and women to handle a game of this magnitude so that it is not marred by poor officiating. 

To their credit, the PSL have since yesterday been undertaking roadshows across Harare’s suburbs as part of a marketing drive to lure fans to the derby. 

The authorities must also ensure that issues of stadium safety and security are prioritised and that potential hooligans, who come to the stadium with a mission to disrupt the game, are nipped in the bud. 

Both clubs have enough marshals to complement the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and private security details, who will be deployed at the stadium. 

 We are concerned as are many neutrals that the start of the 2024 season has been marred by reports of hooliganism, and lawlessness involving administrators, coaches and players, which have put a damper on the big brand, which the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League is. 

In the 11 Match-Days that have been played to date, there have been incidents of teams turning up dressed in the same colours as the home side and causing unnecessary delays to the start of the game. 

There has been a worrying reckless interpretation and challenge to the laws of the game by coaches and players who have conspired to disrespect refereeing decisions without restraint. 

While we admit that referees do err, we are persuaded to agree with FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza in urging for patience and respect of referees’ decisions even if the man or the woman in the middle has made a mistake. 

In the more professional leagues where they even have the aid of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), mistakes are still being made, but to their credit the teams in Europe allow for the logical conclusion of matches. 

Now with the big derby showdown between CAPS United and Dynamos, the PSL has a huge chance to re-ignite itself and showcase the talent that is abundant in Zimbabwean football. 

This is an opportunity to put behind the problems that have been afflicting the league and give it a fresh start. 

The Soweto derby between South African Premiership giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is one big fixture our football can draw lessons from. 

While some of the matches between Chiefs and Pirates may not have been a huge spectacle, one can only but marvel at the carnival atmosphere that the derby at a packed FNB stadium would be. 

Despite not winning the championship for a long time, Chiefs and Pirates have still found a way to attract sold out crowds at the 94 0000-seater FNB stadium. 

It can happen with the 25 000-seater, Rufaro, but only if all involved play the right chords from marketing the game, providing a safe and secure environment for an entire family to spend their Sunday afternoon, to the players giving it their best shot and playing an entertaining brand of football.

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