Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) managing director Givemore Makoni has revealed that the local cricket governing body is working to expand the country’s premier club cricket competition, National Premier League (NPL), the biggest competition in the country, across all sporting disciplines.
The second edition of the NPL was initially set to begin this Sunday but has now been postponed to May 1, with 10 teams battling it out at different venues across the country in the elite club competition.
Speaking ahead of the start of the competition Makoni said ZC is committed to making the NPL, the biggest sporting competition in the country, rivalling even the country’s most popular leagues such as the Premier Soccer League.
“We are dedicating time and resources in our bid to make the NPL the biggest club competition – across all sporting disciplines – in Zimbabwe,” Makoni said.
“As you would know, one of our most important tasks is the sustainable promotion of our players at the appropriate level.
“The NPL is a vital part of this and it will help to bridge the all-important gap between amateur club cricket and provincial representative cricket, giving our players the perfect platform to prepare them for a lasting career in the sport.
“In the long run, we hope that this initiative, plus many others that are underway or in the pipeline will give a fresh impetus to our national teams’ on-field fortunes.”
The NPL was launched last year to breathe new life into the country’s once-vibrant club cricket structures.
After an exciting inaugural edition which was won by Takashinga Patriots in November last year, another entertaining competition is on the cards with competitive matches expected amongst the teams which all qualified through their provincial club competitions.
🇿🇼 Takashinga Patriots have been officially crowned champions of the inaugural National Premier League in Zimbabwe!
They were presented with the trophy today at Harare Sports Club 🏆 pic.twitter.com/wQ5Y9rLql2
— ICC (@ICC) November 17, 2020
The 2021/22 NPL will see Gladiators, Harare Kings, Takashinga Patriots 1 and Takashinga Patriots 2 representing the Harare Metropolitan province, while Bulawayo Metropolitan has Amakhosi and Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC) participating.
The other clubs involved in the league this time round are Westside from Manicaland, Great Zimbabwe Patriots from Masvingo and Nortonians from Midlands-Mashonaland West, while an academy side, Lions, comes in as the 10th team.
As the action gets underway on Sunday May 1, defending champions Takashinga Patriots 1 will face Nortonians at Sunrise Sports Club in Harare.
Across the capital, Old Hararians Sports Club will host two matches, with BAC taking on Westside and Harare Kings entertaining Lions on the other pitch.
Amakhosi will clash with Takashinga Patriots 2 at Kwekwe Sports Club, while Gladiators and Great Zimbabwe Patriots will complete matchday one action at Masvingo Sports Club.#
A total of 45 matches will be played over a month, with the side that finishes top of the standings winning the NPL trophy and prize money.
Spectators who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be permitted to watch all NPL matches in person free of charge.
Selected matches will be live-streamed on Zimbabwe Cricket’s YouTube channel and website, while ball-by-ball coverage will also be available on the Zimbabwe Cricket mobile app.