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The mathematics of survival


Going into the last four matches of the Castle Premiership, seven teams are still in danger of relegation.

Each of their remaining games is a definite must-win if any of the teams entertain any chances of survival.

For Week 27 — tomorrow — there will be no changes to the bottom three-Zimbabwe Saints (22 points) Shooting Stars (23) and Kiglon (24), even if they win their respective matches as none of them can catch up with Shabanie (28).

Saints travel to Mucheke for a date with Masvingo (30). Shooting Stars face defending champions Motor Action while Kiglon face equally-troubled Monomotapa.

Shabanie has the toughest match against FC Platinum in a Zvishavane Derby at Mandava. Platinum are on pole position on the standings and seeking their maiden championship.

Black Mambas (29 points), are at Luveve Stadium against Chicken Inn, who are chasing a top-eight finish in the debut season while Monomotapa (29) have a date against Kiglon.

Saints will be relegated on Sunday if they lose at Mucheke and Shabanie beat Platinum. This is because Saints can only reach a maximum of 31 points from their three remaining games if they win all. Shabanie, already with a better goal difference will already be on 31.

If Mambas beat Chicken Inn, they will move to 32, the same as Monomotapa if they beat Kiglon, while Masvingo will move to 33 if they beat Saints. If such statistics occur on Sunday, then Saints, Stars, Kiglon and Shabanie — if they lose — will be better off planning for Division One football.

On the other hand, the world can come crushing down on Masvingo, Monomotapa and Mambas if they all lose and the bottom four win. This will put Saints at 25, Stars at 26, Kiglon at 27 and Shabanie at 31, pushing Mambas and Monoz into the deep end.

The relegation teams will still meet before the season ends: Saints will play Mambas at Barbourfields and Kiglon in Harare, while Monomotapa will face Masvingo.

In this battle all four regions are affected: the Southern Region has Saints, the Central Region has Shabanie, the Northern has Shooting Stars, Kiglon, Black Mambas and Monomotapa while Masvingo is from the Eastern Region.

Saints, if relegated, have already been replaced by Quelaton. Shabanie, if they go down, will have their place taken by Hardbody or Tripple B and Masvingo could be replaced by Buffaloes.

Masvingo, though, have the advantage of playing their last game at home against faltering Highlanders while Shabanie also have a game against Bosso at Maglas.

Relegation zone last three fixtures (“h” for home and “a” for away)

Zimbabwe Saints v Black Mambas (h), Kiglon (a), Caps United (home)

Shooting Stars v Blue Ribbon (a), Caps United (a), FC Platinum (h)

Kiglon v Hwange (a), Zimbabwe Saints (h), Dynamos (a)

Shabanie Mine v Caps United (h), Chicken Inn (a), Highlanders (h)

Black Mambas v Zimbabwe Saints (a), Blue Ribbon (h), Motor Action (h)

Monomotapa v FC Platinum (h), Highlanders (a), Masvingo (h)

Masvingo v Hwange (a), Monomotapa (a) Highlanders (h)

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