TEARS of either joy or despair will be shed at three venues this evening after confirmation of Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions, the fourth relegated team and the team that would have survived the chop.
BY ALBERT MARUFU
With the curtain coming down today, one team between Harare City, Dynamos and Highlanders will be crowned champions while a fourth relegation candidate will also be confirmed.
However, somewhere, a team will celebrate as if they have won the championship after escaping the dreaded chop having finished fifth place from the bottom.
All the seven teams: Black Rhinos, How Mine, Shabanie Mine, Triangle United, Hwange, Buffaloes and Black Mambas, have an equal chance of being relegated as only a point separates them.
With three teams relegated — Motor Action, Monomotapa and Tripple B — one of the above teams will go down.
Turning to the championship, log leaders Harare City, who are two points clear of close rivals Dynamos and Highlanders, will collect their maiden championship with an outright victory over CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium.
Missing the services of the suspended duo of Silas Songani and Crispen Dickson and the injured Munyaradzi Nyenye and defender Witness Nyamutsaka, Harare City appears depleted.
However, life goes on and coach Bigboy Mawiwi, though fretting over the quartet’s absence, is putting on a brave face.
“We will certainly miss these players, but we will manage. Though this is a big match for us, we are not panicking. We are just taking it like any other game,” said Mawiwi, who is a strong contender for the Coach of the Year Award.
However, in CAPS United, they face a side that is not only fighting to save face, but one that’s also fighting for a top four finish.
With 48 points, one behind fourth placed FC Platinum, the “Green Machine” will be hoping to finish on a high note and that could be disastrous for Harare City.
However, a victory for CAPS United would be what a severely depleted Dynamos, who are in their own battle with relegation threatened Black Mambas at Rufaro, will be hoping for.
A win for CAPS United will hand the championship to Dynamos, provided they win their own battle against Mambas.
At Barbourfields, Bosso will be hoping for a victory over relegation-threatened Shabanie Mine while also hoping for losses for both Dynamos and Harare City.
Black Mambas coach John “Toto” Ncube, who have Nhlanhla Ncube out through injury, has vowed to beat Dynamos to ensure his team’s survival.
With Partson Jaure, Oscar Machapa and Stephen Alimenda out through suspensions, on paper Dynamos looks frail.
Thomas Magorimbo has started light training, but chances of him featuring in this last game of the season are a bit remote.
“We have done everything we can to win this tie. Dynamos are in a situation where they have to win this match and the same applies to us considering our position on the log. Dynamos are a big team with a huge support base, but they field the same number of players as us,” said Ncube.
Dynamos team manager Richard Chihoro is wary of the threat posed by little Black Mambas.
“These teams fighting relegation are very dangerous and with the injuries in the team, we have to be at our best and hope results from other venues will be in our favour. We have to win this last game of the season,” said Chihoro.
Black Rhinos, sitting on position four from the bottom, have to beat the relegated Monomotapa at Gwanzura and hope that Black Mambas lose their match to Dynamos. Only a point separates Mambas and Rhinos and neither team can afford to lose points.
Another army side Buffaloes, who are on 38 points together with Black Mambas, will battle it out with FC Platinum who are also eager for a fourth place finish.
Relegated Motor Action might be hoping to be the team to ensure that there is no more Premiership football in Hwange with a victory over Hwange.
If Hwange loses the match and servicemen Black Rhinos, Black Mambas and Buffaloes win their respective matches, then that would spell doom for Chipangano.