IT’S only seven matches before the 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League comes to a close and just like the title race which looks set to go to the wire, nothing separates 2015 runner-up, CAPS United’s Dominic Chungwa and rising Dynamos striker Christian Epoupa in the race for the Golden Boot.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Both strikers have equalled last year’s top scorer Leonard Tsipa’s season tally of 11 goals — as the Premiership’s leading scorer yet again looks set to fail to break the 20-goal mark for the seventh year in a row.
Epoupa’s form in his dream first season in local football seemed to have taken a major nosedive after he was sent off in the epic battle against archrivals Highlanders for headbutting defender Peter Muduhwa early September.
He subsequently served a mandatory two-match ban and has played a single match since his return.
On the other hand, Chungwa, who finished second to former Highlanders’ marksman Knox Mutizwa on the charts with 12 goals in 2015, appears to have hit a purple patch at the right time.
Chungwa was the star man for the Green Machine last month, adding three goals to his tally while scoring in crucial wins against Bantu Rovers, Dynamos and Chicken Inn to lift the champions up to sixth place.
He was duly awarded the September player of the month award.
The former Dynamos marksman still enjoys a one match advantage over Epoupa as he seeks to land his first Golden Boot accolade in his career.
While all eyes are on the two rivals who play for arch-enemies, Black Rhinos forward Lot Chiwunga is lurking in the shadows for a slip up by the two Golden Boot race leaders.
Chiwunga had a much better first half of the season, guiding Chauya Chipembere to the summit of the Premiership standings at the halfway stage until goals dried up for the veteran player.
The 30-year-old, who helped the army side to the Northern Region Division One title last season, is tied for third place with former Bantu Rovers marksman Bukhosi Sibanda who moved to South Africa during the mid-season transfer window with 10 goals.
Sibanda remains among the top four goal scorers three months after he joined Ubuntu Cape Town FC.
Ngezi Platinum attacking midfielder Terrence Dzvukamanja at one point looked like a genuine contender for the Golden Boot but appears to have run out of steam for the title-chasing Mhondoro side.
With nine goals, three behind the leading pair, Dzvukamanja retains an outside-chance of emerging the winner. It is, however, his teammate Tichaona Mabvura who looks like he will challenge for the honours, if his current form is anything to go by.
Bulawayo City’s Mukhululi Moyo and the Dynamos duo of Denver Mukamba and Ocean Mushure, as well as former Highlanders striker Prince Dube complete the top 10 strikers in the league.
Four players namely Zenzo Moyo (21), Evans Chikwaikwai (23), Nyasha Mushekwi (21) and Norman Maroto have scored more that 20-goals since the turn of the millennium.
Tsipa won the Golden Boot last year with the lowest ever number of goals in the history of local football — 11 goals in 30 matches.
Former Highlanders marksman Mutizwa has scored the most goals in the last three seasons with his 14 goals during the 2015 season, while Charles Sibanda and Kuda Musharu were joint top scorers with 12 goals in 2014.