Premiership journey begins


THE 34-week Castle Lager Premier Soccer League journey begins this weekend after close to four months break. 
The league was scheduled to begin on March 10 but league administrators had to postpone by a week as they finalise the How Mine issue.
The Bulawayo-based side surrendered the premiership franchise.
As a result, Harare City, who were on the relegation cut-off when the season ended, were given the franchise. 
Harare City will have a second bite of the cherry in the premiership and kicks it off with CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Harare City, who had lost of some of their players as they went into second tier league, have had to quickly set up a competitive side.
However, star players like William Manondo, Moses Muchenje and Tendai Samanja, among others had preferred to stay with the municipal side.
Muchenje will be facing his former club CAPS United after his contract expired at the end of the year. Muchenje was in Cairo, Egypt, for a perceived move to the Pharaoh’s land but the deal failed to materialise. 
Centre-back Jimmy Tigere crossed the floor to Dynamos.
Munyaradzi Diro Nyenye has retraced his footsteps to Harare City after the experienced defender spent a season at Yadah FC. Bright Chayambuka, Denzel Chimwemwe and Ryan Harrison have also joined the Sunshine Boys.
Harare City need to be cautious with CAPS United as the Green Machine, on paper, are a vastly superior side.
Good players in their Green Machine camp include Ronald Chitiyo, Method Mwanjali, Dominic Mukandi and Wisdom Mutasa.
Roderick Mutuma is also in CAPS United books alongside Denver Mukamba who started training with the Green Machine earlier this week.
The 2016 champions are the favourites to win the game but should not read much into Harare City’s circumstances.
FC Platinum start their title defence with a date against ZPC Kariba.
The power utility side will be fulfilling their home matches in Harare after the condemnation of homeground Nyamhunga Stadium.
After crashing out of the Champions League in the preliminary stage, FC Platinum will now be focusing on their title defence.
Their dance in the African safari helped the Zvishavane-based miners assemble a team well ahead of their opponents.
FC Platinum had made several additions to their team in preparation for the Champions League and they will be a stronger side than in last season.
Lawrence Mhlanga, Rahman Kutsanzira and Shadreck Mayembe from Zambia are among new additions at Mandava.
Elsewhere, new boys Nichruit welcome returnees Mutare City Rovers.
Nichruit, who play their first top flight match this weekend, will be looking for nothing short of maximum points as much as Mutare City Rovers.
Highlanders entertain Black Rhinos at Barbourfields Stadium in a match that tests Madinda Ndlovu’s readiness to challenge for the title this season.
The Bulawayo giants have been looking for the league title for more than a decade. The Highlanders class of 2006 last won the premiership for Bosso.
Dynamos are away to Chicken Inn at Luveve Stadium as they start their bid for yet another title.
Chicken Inn, on the other hand, will be seeking their second title this season as they have reunited with coaches Joey Antipas and Prince Matore who, after winning the 2015 title, went to join Amazulu of South Africa. 
Lloyd Mutasa’s young side will be under test from Chicken Inn after the youthful side won many hearts in the Commander ZNA Charities Shield last month.
Dynamos beat CAPS United and Highlanders to win the Charities Shield. 
Herentals will play their first premiership match against Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro-Ngezi.
The platinum miners, who narrowly missed the title, come back this season a more determined side.
The Tonderayi Ndiraya-coached side have made several additions to the team, an indicator of their determination to land the title.
Shabanie Mine, who have been struggling both on the pitch and financially, hope for better fortunes as their parent company, Shabanie Mashava Mines, has re-opened for business.
Shabanie Mine has produced some of the country’s finest footballers who include Francis Chandida, the late Thomas Makwasha, Zvenyika Makonese and Asani Juma.
The Chinda boys start their 2018 campaign with a match against Triangle.
Nichruit vs Mutare City (Mandava) Sat
Chicken Inn vs Dynamos (Barbourfields) Sat
Ngezi Platinum vs Herentals  (Baobab) Sat
Yadah vs Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro) Sat
Bulawayo City vs Chapungu (Luveve) Sat
ZPC Kariba vs FC Platinum (NSS) Sat
Highlanders vs Black Rhinos (Barbourfields) Sun
CAPS vs Harare City (NSS) Sun
Shabanie Mine vs Triangle (Mandava) Sun


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