Do-or-die as league resumes


IT’s back to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) tomorrow (Saturday) as matches resume after a two-week breather.
The league now enters the decisive second half stage where the champion will be determined in the 17 remaining matches.
Those to be relegated will also be known as the season progresses.
Tomorrow (Saturday), three matches have been lined up, with two in Harare while the other are scheduled for Zvishavane.
All eyes will be on Ngezi Platinum Stars who had been the league pacesetters until they lost the last three matches before the breather.
It was Bulawayo Chiefs who started the misery of the platinum miners, then their cousins, FC Platinum, and army side Black Rhinos which beat them too.
Tonderayi Ndiraya’s men had been unbeaten in the opening 14 matches.
The Mhondoro-Ngezi-based side are now trailing the log leaders FC Platinum by six points and seek to bounce back to winning ways tomorrow at the National Sports Stadium (NSS) where they play newboys Herentals FC.
The match is an early kick-off at 2pm.
All Saturday matches are early kick-offs as the PSL are allowing play to end before ongoing World Cup matches that may affect turnout at the stadia.
FC Platinum, last year, beat Ngezi in the penultimate stages of the season to push them out of the title race.
Ngezi’s defence proved to be their Achilles heel; hopefully Ndiraya used the transfer window and season’s break to beef up the department.
At Mandava, FC Platinum welcome ZPC Kariba who slowly, but surely, have come to the party.
They had a string of poor results in the opening 10 matches.
The power utility side, who had a bad start to the season, hit a purple patch in the last four matches prior to the breather.
The Kariba-based side beat Bulawayo City at Nyamhunga 1-0, then edged Chapungu 2-3 at Ascot before a goalless draw with Harare City in the resort town.
Their last match before the break was against giant killers Bulawayo Chiefs, which they won 2-0 at Barbourfields.
Facing FC Platinum away could be a tricky encounter for the travellers as the home side have been solid at the back while their attack has been lethal.
Using home advantage at Mandava, FC Platinum may collect three points.
ZPC Kariba recently signed David Temwanjira from Shabanie Mine and his input in the match might be the difference as he knows FC Platinum’s culture and play.
Harare City and CAPS United clash in a Harare derby at Rufaro Stadium at 2pm in another potential thriller.
Harare City have become a force to reckon with this season despite coming back into the top flight by default.
How Mine surrendered their franchise to the PSL who offered it to Harare City.
Sunday sees Harare giants Dynamos playing host to Joey Antipas’ Chicken Inn at Rufaro Stadium at 3pm.
The Glamour Boys seek to bounce back this second half of the season after a disastrous first half.
The boardroom developments spilled into the field of play.
The first half of the season saw Kenny Mubaiwa, Dynamos president, resigning while the head coach, Lloyd Mutasa, was relieved of his duties before he was reinstated.
Biggie Zuze replaced Mutasa but was later booted out when Mutasa was re-appointed.
The impasse with some players over unpaid signing on fees rages on but it seems the dust has settled with Ocean Mushure whom the club owes thousands and will be available for the Chicken Inn match.
Antipas is a tricky customer for Dynamos as he has given DeMbare a run for their money since the days he coached the now defunct Motor Action.
Chicken Inn are at 30 points, 14 shy of log leaders and are occupying third position while DeMbare have managed only 20 points.
From the log standings, Chicken Inn are favourites to win. However, Dynamos may come out stronger from the season’s break and begin to collect maximum points.
Black Rhinos welcome Highlanders at the NSS with the army side hoping to pick up from where they left.
The army side finished the first half of the season on a high note, defeating the in form Ngezi.
Triangle entertain Shabanie Mine at Gibbo as the sugar manufacturers try to keep check on the log leaders FC Platinum.
Taurai Mangwiro’s men gave a good account of themselves in the first half of the season with Nhamo Lameck being the driving force at Triangle.
Elsewhere, Bulawayo Chiefs play host to Yadah at Luveve while Mutare City are home to Nichrut at Vengere Stadium in Mutare.
Bulawayo City travel to Ascot for a date with Chapungu to end Week 18 action.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here