The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) marathon reaches the home stretch this weekend with three teams Shabanie Mine, Masvingo United and Monomotapa set for battles against the lone ticket for the chop.
Three teams, Zimbabwe Saints, Kiglon Bird and Shooting Stars, have already been confirmed as Division One candidates come next season, leaving one slot that will pave way for four promoted teams from the second tier leagues.
Bulawayo-based side Quelaton scooped the Buscod Southern Region Division One championship while army side Buffaloes will make a return to the top-flight league after a couple of years in the wilderness.
The other team that will share the top table with the country’s football elite is Harare City, who won the Northern Region league. The Central Region is still to be decided between Hardbody of Gweru and Triple B of Beitbridge.
Triple B will round up their campaign against Tongogara at Dulibadzimu on Saturday while leaders Hardbody have a date against Silo United away in Kwekwe on the same day.
The interesting factor about regional winners is they come into the PSL with their bases spread across the country. That alone, in my opinion, makes the game of football fascinating apart from the fact that the “beautiful game” will be spread across the width and breath of Zimbabwe.
Courtesy of Buffaloes, soccer fans in Mutare will be able to watch Premier football in the eastern highlands while the prospect of Hardbody or Tripple B winning the Central Region will once again take soccer to areas that have been starved of top action.
If Hardbody wins, Gweru fans and players will have the opportunity to sample zenith football while Tripple B will drag Premiership action to Beitbridge.
The advantages of such a scenario are that talent in those obscure places will come out in the open and be conscripted into the national team which currently features predominantly Harare and Bulawayo players.
That is why I believe Monomotapa must be relegated on Saturday while Masvingo United and Shabanie Mine retain their places in the sun.
Monomotapa are a team from Harare which already boasts seven other teams in the names of Dynamos, Caps United, Motor Action, Blue Ribbon, Gunners, Black Mambas and newly-promoted Harare City. It would be droning to have so many teams in the same city.
Monomotapa must surely be relegated so Harare ceases to be the only city which hosts top-flight matches.
It is refreshing that teams like FC Platinum and Hwange are high up on the log as the game spreads. I envisage a situation when teams from Victoria Falls, Chiredzi, Chipinge, Mouth Darwin, Kariba, Tsholotsho or Malipati qualify into the Premiership to give the league a truly national outlook.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Fixtures
Saturday: Zimbabwe Saints v CAPS United, Blue Ribbon v Chicken Inn, Black Mambas v Motor Action, Shabanie Mine v Highlanders, Gunners v Hwange, Monomotapa v Masvingo
Sunday: Shooting Stars v FC Platinum, Dynamos v Kiglon
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