Castle Lager Premiership race hots up
LOCAL premiership takes a break this weekend, paving way for the semifinals of the NetOne One Wallet Cup.
By Brian Nkiwane
The semifinals kicked off yesterday at Mandava with Triangle taking on Chicken Inn while Harare Giants Dynamos play How mine this afternoon at the same venue.
In the Premier Soccer League (PSL) race, five teams have emerged as serious contenders for the league crown.
Standardsport will take this opportunity to analyse the remaining fixtures for the top five teams which include defending champions and leaders Dynamos, followed by perennial title contenders Highlanders, who have for the past two seasons lost the race to DeMbare on an inferior goal difference.
Debutants ZPC Kariba have hit the topflight league with verve and could ghost in the title.
Former Cup Kings CAPS United are also demanding the league title and so is Hwange.
After the PSL break, DeMbare at 39 points, will resume their title defence mission with a date against Chiredzi in Harare before travelling to face FC Platinum away at Mandava.
New FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has been in charge of the platinum miners for only three matches, winning twice before losing to Highlanders at home.
Dynamos, who remain with only two games out of Harare will then host another relegation candidate Shabanie Mine, who have also made technical changes by roping in national Under-20 coach Jairos Tapera to work with demoted John Phiri.
The last time they will go out of Harare is when they travel to Mutare for a date against Buffaloes who have also changed coaches by bringing in DeMbare legend Moses Chunga after parting ways with Luke Masomere who joined How Mine to replace Philani Ncube.
The Glamour Boys will then host Chapungu at home before traveling across town to meet rejuvenated Harare City where another former son, Masimba Dinyero will be waiting to claim their scalp.
Relegation threatened Bantu Rovers will be their next opponent before travelling to Gwanzura where they will date premiership debutants ZPC Kariba who are also in the running for the title.
ZPC Kariba shocked DeMbare 1-0 in their first meeting at the National Sports Stadium.
They will wind up their 2014 season with a home fixture against How Mine.
If they manage to retain the title, it will be sweet victory for their hard to please fans.
Trying hard to topple DeMbare in a third attempt, Highlanders at 38 points, one behind log leaders, will resume PSL action with a date against Buffaloes at home before making a trip to the capital to face Harare City who happen to be the team that dented their title aspirations last year under Bigboy Mawiwi.
They will then host ZPC Kariba at home before coming back to Harare to play CAPS United.
Bosso will engage Chicken Inn in a Bulawayo derby before making a long trip to Hwange for a date against the coalminers, host Chiredzi FC, and travel to Zvishavane before winding off their 2014 soccer season with a date against Chapungu at home. Winning the championship in front of their fans will be good for the Bulawayo giants.
Whoever gave them a chance to challenge for title in their maiden premiership dance?
ZPC Kariba have shocked many premiership teams as they lie third on the log table at par with Highlanders on 38 points tally.
Gwenya Rekuchamhembe or Kauya Katuruturu will resume PSL action with a date against How Mine in Bulawayo and then face Jostein Mathuthu who took them to the “Promised Land” before they showed him the exit door. Mathuthu is now the head coach at army side Black Rhinos.
Mathuthu has been doing well beating big clubs that include Highlanders, How Mine and more recently DeMbare.
Rhinos will then travel to Bulawayo to face Bosso before hosting Triangle at home.
Their next assignment will be a long trip to Zvishavane to face FC Platinum and return home to host army side Buffaloes. They will come back to Harare to engage Harare City before facing DeMbare at home and wind up their 2014 season against CAPS United.
Winning the championship in their maiden premiership dance will be marvelous for the power utility company making history in the process.
CAPS United have emerged as another title contender after good performances in their last few games.
The Green Machine will resume action against Bantu Rovers in Bulawayo before coming back home to face How Mine.
They will be the next big team to invade Rimuka to face giant killers Black Rhinos before taking on Highlanders in a match that could have a bearing on the championship destination.
The green army will then travel to Chiredzi to face Triangle before coming back to host FC Platinum.
They will then face Buffaloes away in Mutare before hosting Harare City at home and then wind off the business of the season with a date against ZPC Kariba, another match that will have a bearing on the championship destination. Winning championship in Harare will bring back old memories to CAPS United fans that have been eluded by success for a long time.
The coal miners have had a decent say on the championship despite lying fifth on the log table with 34 points.
With the top four teams still to play each other in other matches, Hwange still have a loud say in the race. They will resume action against Shabanie Mine away in Zvishavane before hosting, Chapungu at home.
The coal miners will thereafter travel to Bulawayo to meet Bantu Rovers before hosting How Mine at home.
Once again, they will have to visit Rimuka for a date with Black Rhinos before hosting Highlanders at home.
They will then travel to Triangle, host FC Platinum and wind up business of the season with a date against Buffaloes in Mutare. Winning the league in style, away from home, will be a great achievement for Chipangano.
Meanwhile, a battle for survival continues at the bottom of the 16-team log table with Chiredzi FC anchoring with a paltry 11 points garnered from two wins and five draws.
Just above them on position 15 is Bantu Rover at 16 points.
Shabanie Mine are on 23 points while Black Rhinos, How Mine and Triangle are all on 24 points.
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