THE Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) enters Week 22 this weekend with seven matches lined up.
Two fixtures have been postponed as Highlanders and Dynamos have commitments across the border.
Competition continues to intensify on both ends of the log with the championship increasingly looking like it’s going to be a four-horse race pitting top performers Ngezi Platinum, Chicken Inn, Dynamos and FC Platinum.
However, it is still too early to predict the team that will clinch the title as the journey to the trophy still has 12 more rounds.
League pacesetters Ngezi Platinum clash with CAPS United this Sunday at the National Sports Stadium (NSS) in Harare.
The match comes at a time when the Harare giants and holders are struggling for rhythm after crashing out of the African Champions League.
The defending champions have been a pale shadow of the team that mercilessly thrashed its opponents last season after a busy spell in the African safari.
The CAPS United infirmary has goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, Leonard Tsipa and Tafadzwa Rusike who are important members of the team.
Without the players, the Green Machine has been struggling.
Having played 16 games so far, the Harare giants are still playing catch-up.
They are currently trading in murky waters on the log and have become social media fodder.
Facing the log leaders on Sunday might be an uphill task for the Harare giants who may sink even deeper on the log as Ngezi have been doing well both home and away.
Tonderayi Ndiraya’s side have been consistent and Lloyd Chitembwe needs to psyche up his lads to face and stop the juggernaut.
Ngezi are on 43 points from 21 matches.
They have been scoring in almost every match with 39 goals to their credit so far.
However, Ngezi have a porous defence which has let in 20 goals which, in simple terms, means that they have conceded in every match they have played so far.
Ngezi Platinum are the favourites to win the match. However, the defending champions may rise to the occasion and upset the log leaders.
They recently beat FC Platinum 2-1 at the NSS.
Tomorrow (Saturday), struggling Black Rhinos welcome exciting Chicken Inn at the ceremonial home of football, Rufaro Stadium.
The Stanford ‘Stix’ Mutizwa-coached Black Rhinos seem to have lost their winning formula following a blistering start to the season and will be out to stop the Gamecocks who are firmly in contention for the coveted title.
The 2015 champions are eying their second league title under the guidance of Rahman Gumbo who won it with Highlanders in the early 2000s.
Black Rhinos last won against troubled Tsholotsho Pirates at Morris Depot on July 9.
After the game, the army side lost to Ngezi Platinum (2-4), Chapungu (3-0), Dynamos (0-1) and Bantu Rovers (1-0).
In the last five matches, the army side have collected a paltry three points out of 15.
Mutizwa seems to have run out of tactics or rather his opposition have learnt all their tactics.
However, the game might mark Black Rhinos’ return to winning ways using home advantage and the league break.
With the loss of form, Black Rhinos’ title chances have dwindled to below 50 percent.
Chicken Inn won the 2015 title through consistency and they are well on track to making another surprise.
Elsewhere, Hwange engage Bantu Rovers in a battle of the mud as the two sides are fighting relegation at the Colliery Stadium in Hwange.
The coalminers have been struggling to establish themselves in the league.
Chipangano, as they are affectionately known, have not been able to defend their fortress, the Colliery Stadium this season.
The Colliery Stadium was in the past a difficult terrain for visiting teams.
However, this year ZPC Kariba, Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum, among others, have come out of the Colliery with maximum points.
Shabanie Mine this Sunday play host to ZPC Kariba at Maglas Stadium while Triangle face-off with FC Platinum at Gibbo Stadium.
The matches between How Mine/Dynamos and Highlanders/Tsholotsho have been postponed as Dynamos and Highlanders will be in Francistown, Botswana, where they will be playing in a four-team tournament.
Yadah FC vs Chapungu FC Morris, Depot Stadium (1500hrs)
Black Rhinos FC vs Chicken Inn FC, Rufaro Stadium (1500hrs) SS
Bulawayo City FC vs Harare City FC, Barbourfields Stadium (1500hrs)
Caps United FC vs Ngezi Platinum FC, Rufaro Stadium (1500hrs) SS
Hwange FC vs Bantu Rovers FC, Colliery Stadium (1500hrs)
Triangle United FC vs FC Platinum, Gibbo Stadium (1500hrs)
Shabanie Mine FC vs ZPC Kariba FC, Maglas Stadium (1500hrs)
How Mine FC vs Dynamos FC, Barbourfields Stadium