The race for promotion into the top-flight league is reaching a crescendo in the Zifa Central Region Division One Soccer League with five teams having a realistic chance of grabbing the coveted spot.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
With only 13 teams battling for promotion after five pulled out due to financial constraints early this season, five teams — Whawha, ZPC Munyati, TelOne, Tongogara and Vumbachikwe — are all tied on 18 points after 11 rounds of matches and going into the mid-season break.
Luke Petros’ Whawha lead the pecking order in the ding-dong race for promotion with a superior goal difference while ZPC Munyati are second.
The power utility side is led by former Chapungu coach Tendai Chikuni, who is fancying a quick return to the top-flight league after being sacked at the Air Force of Zimbabwe side.
Former Warriors star-man Joel Luphahla has fared well at Telone and the financially-stable side are eyeing a historic break into the fashionable premier league.
Gwanda-based Vumbachikwe have emerged as surprise contenders.
Army side Tongogara are looking to improve from where they left last season having slumped at the 11th hour, finishing as bridesmaids to Shurugwi’s Nichrut, who went on to be promoted.
FC Platinum development side, U-19, have been impressive with 17 points, a point behind the leading pack, while another ambitious Gweru side, Sheasham, who were initially tipped for promotion, have 15 points out of a possible 33.
Sheasham, who boast of former Premier Soccer League players such as Steven Alimenda, Tineyi Chitora and Patrick Khumbula, are three points behind.
The Central Region Soccer League has of late been the most improved of the four regions, and for the first time since they were weaned from the Southern Region in 2010, the region has produced four teams into the Premier Soccer League, namely champions FC Platinum, Chapungu, Shabanie Mine and Nichrut.
The league’s chairman Stanley Chapeta expressed satisfaction over the ever-surging levels of competition
“We are going on a mid-season break and the league will resume on August 4,” said Chapeta.
“So far, so good. I am happy with the level of competition which seems to be improving each and every season.
“Right now, we have five teams that are battling for promotion into the premier league and that alone shows that our football is developing in the right direction
“We hope that this will continue for the betterment of the game countrywide.”
The Central Region Soccer League is the only branded Division One league after they acquired a three-year sponsorship from Zimbabwe General Medical Aid Fund.