THE tide in the Castle Lager Premiership has changed this year with competition appearing a bit stiffer with Highlanders leading the pack after 12 rounds of the programme.
Report by Fortune Mbele
After thumping bogey side Monomotapa 5-2 last Thursday and scrapping a 2-1 win from determined Black Mambas on Sunday, Bosso top the log-standings with 26 points from 12 matches after winning eight, losing two and drawing twice.
Seven points separate leaders Highlanders and seventh-placed Caps United and any slip ups from these teams would provide a chance to the chasers to close the gap.
At the same time last year, the Bulawayo giants had gone 12 games without a defeat, winning eight times and settling for four draws and were on 28 points.
This year, champions Dynamos are in third spot in round 12 with 22 points after beating Motor Action 2-0 on Saturday and sharing the spoils with troublesome Harare City in a goalless draw on Wednesday.
DeMbare have so far won five times, drew seven times and they are the only team yet to lose a game in the league.
In Week 12 last year, Dynamos, taking part in the Caf African Champions League showcase, had gone for 10 matches, but had already garnered 20 points after winning six games, drawing twice and losing twice.
Last year, it was FC Platinum in second spot at this stage with 24 points from 13 games after winning seven matches, losing thrice with three draws.
Harare City, while awaiting determination of a PSL disciplinary committee on Shabanie for a match abandoned nine minutes before time on May 12 at Maglas, when the hosts’ fans turned violent, are on position two with 24 points as the 3-1 result of that match is not likely to change.
If history is anything to go by, City could be awarded the three points on an even better scoreline of 3-0 if Shabanie is found guilty.
Last year, the season’s opening match between Caps United and Chicken Inn was abandoned three minutes from time with the Bulawayo side leading 2-0 and the disciplinary committee focused on cause of the abandonment and not the match result.
Caps were fined for their fans’ behaviour.
In 2004, the epic battle between Highlanders and Caps United at Barbourfields was called off in the 89th minute with the score at 3-3. The scoreline stood with Highlanders being fined for causing the abandonment.
PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele yesterday said the Shabanie Mine verdict will be out any time this week.
Platinum are this year on position four with 21 points from 12 matches, having won six times, drawing three times and having lost three times.
They lost two matches in five days, losing 1-0 to Hwange at home before a 2-1 loss to Caps United at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday and need to bounce back to winning ways before the World Cup break.
Chicken Inn, who have current top goal scorer Tendai Ndoro with eight goals, are on position five with 20 points from 12 games, compared to last year when they were on position seven with 19 points. They are only seven points away from Bosso.
This year, Tripple B, Triangle, Motor Action and Black Rhinos are the early contenders for the chop while after 13 rounds last year, Blue Rangers, Hardbody and Quelaton were already showing signs of giving up the fight against relegation.
Fixtures Week 13
Saturday: Tripple B vs Motor Action (Dulibadzimu), FC Platinum vs Harare City (Mandava), Chicken Inn vs Black Mambas (Luveve), Monomotapa vs Caps United (Rufaro)
Sunday: Shabanie Mine vs How Mine (Maglas), Hwange vs Highlanders (Colliery), Dynamos vs Black Rhinos (Rufaro) Triangle vs Buffaloes (Gibbo)