THE nine-month journey has been long and bumpy, but the 2012 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League curtain finally comes down today with either Dynamos or Highlanders being crowned champions.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
In an intriguing race where the race would be decided on the final day, it is ironically the relegated teams Hardbody and Blue Rangers who might have a say over where the championship lands.
Dynamos, who lead the pack with 68 points, conclude their campaign with a trip to Gweru for a date with Hardbody at Ascot, while second-placed Bosso who take on Blue Rangers at Gwanzura would be praying for their own victory and a Dynamos’ slip up.
Dynamos coach Kallisto Pasuwa, whose side would be crowned champions with a victory at Ascot, is wary of the threat posed by the so-called small teams as his team has struggled against them.
“It is not going to be easy for us as the players have a tendency to underrate these so-called small teams. I have been warning the players over the past week against doing that. We struggled against Blue Rangers and also against Quelaton,” said Pasuwa.
Pasuwa, whose side is still missing the services of Zambian Arthur Kaseloki who is writing examinations and the injured duo of Devon Chafa and Milton Makopa, said Hardbody might turn out to be spoilers as they had nothing to lose.
“I prefer that we play first and then talk later. These games are very difficult to win,” said Pasuwa.
As has become the norm at Dynamos, Pasuwa would be looking to the reliable Denver Mukamba to carry the team.
Mukamba should be ably supported by Simba Sithole and the self-styled “Prince” Roderick Mutume. In defence, Partson Jaure is expected to thwart the threats posed by Hardbody’s attacking trio of Jacob Muzokomba, Nhlanhla Ncube and Kallisto Maheya.
Highlanders, who would be crippled by the absence of the injured quartet of Eric Mudzingwa, Lawson Nkomo, Milton Ncube and Graham Ncube, have been warned by motor-mouthed Rangers coach Partson Ndabambi to expect no favours from his side.
“We have been relegated but that does not mean we have to lose this match. Remember we also need the winning bonuses that come with winning matches. I expect a good game from Highlanders as they have been playing well this season,” he said.
Kelvin Kaindu said his side would have to win the match as they still had a chance of winning the championship.
“This is a very important game for us. Though Rangers have already been relegated, they will want to finish the season on a high note. However, we will fight to the end,” said Kaindu.
At Lafarge, Moses Chunga’s Gunners would be hoping to survive relegation with a victory over Chicken Inn while Quelaton will take on Hwange at Luveve.
Monomotapa v Buffaloes (Rufaro), Blue Rangers v Highlanders (Gwanzura), FC Platinum v Black Mambas (Mandava), Hardbody v Dynamos (Ascot), Quelaton v Hwange (Luveve), Gunners v Chicken Inn (Lafarge).