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PSL action takes a break

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THE 2013 Castle Lager Premier League season will take a two-week recess to pave way for Warriors assignments with Highlanders and Dynamos again showing why they will always be the teams to beat.

Report by Henry Mhara

After 13 matches, Highlanders are on top of the log with 29 points. The Bulawayo giants are desperate to win the title this season, after it was snatched right from under their noses last season on goal difference after they dropped points from a number of drawn matches.

Kalisto Pasuwa’s Dynamos have already drawn seven times this season. Bosso had drawn four games at this point of the season last year, in contrast to two this season.

Their current 29 points is two less than what they had at this point last season, but they have been getting the job done this year. Vital wins away at Hwange on Sunday, and earlier against Tripple B, Triangle, Shabanie Mine and a 5-2 whacking of Monomotapa have ensured that Kelvin Kaindu’s side sit proudly at the top of the table going into the break.

On second position are unbeaten defending champions Dynamos with 25 points. The league champions’ performances have not been as convincing as last season.
Their major undoing has been the number of drawn matches, seven, compared to Highlanders’ seven in total in the whole season last year.

Then there is Harare City. The rise of the Sunshine Boys in two short years has been nothing short of spectacular.

Having only been promoted to the top-flight last season, no one would have believed that the City Fathers could be entangled in a battle for the title this season.
Tied on points with Dynamos, the Bigboy Mawiwi-coached side has utilised the craft and speed of new strikers Osbourne Mukuradare and Martin Vengesai to great effect.
The duo has managed to stand high in a team that contains highly talented players like James Jam, Silas Songani, William Manondo and David Kutyauripo.

With only a handful of genuine challengers emerging for the title, City could be forgiven for dreaming of nipping the title away from the two leading teams.

Also deserving mention on the list of performers are Chicken Inn. Quite many predicted, after the sudden death of coach Adam Ndlovu last year, the team to struggle this season. But the Gamecocks have exceeded expectations. They currently sit fourth on the table, having picked up 23 points so far.

In top goal scorer Tendai Ndoro, midfield magician Kuda Mahachi and the defensive stalwart called Felix Chindungwe, the club has strong pillars for success this season.

But it is the revelation of striker Ndoro which has proved to be the biggest reason for Chicken Inn’s success this far.

The speedy winger’s sterling performances for the club, and a return of nine goals, have led him to be linked with a move to top clubs Highlanders, Dynamos and, of course, FC Platinum.

However, the surprise package of the season tag should go to How Mine.
Built on the foundation of experienced players like Herbert Dick, Gilbert Banda, Simon Njeleza, Nqobile Mpala and their leading scorer Simba Sithole, they are the only one of the four promoted team who are not embroiled in the relegation dogfight.
How Mine are on sixth position with 20 points and will need at least 16 more from the remaining 17 matches to avoid relegation. On current form, How Mine will survive the chop.

Elsewhere, Caps United, Motor Action and to a certain extent FC Platinum can lay claims to being the underachieving teams so far. They have failed to impose themselves in the league despite possessing all the resources — in FC Platinum’s case — and some immensely talented players.

FC Platinum started the season brightly enough, claiming 15 points out of a possible 18 in the first six weeks. That early season promise soon faded, however, and the Zvishavane side has won just once in their last five games, leaving them languishing fifth on the log, seven points behind Highlanders.

Just like FC Platinum, Caps started on a roll, but have found the going tough in recent weeks as they currently occupy seventh position on the log with 20 points.
That said, Caps still boast of genuine talented players like Ronald Pfumbidzai, Dominic Chungwa and Hardlife Zvirekwi.

This gives the Taurai Mangwiro side a sense of optimism going forward and the club’s fans will undoubtedly be hoping that the Green Machine will pull themselves up once again.

Motor Action has been dreadful.

Before the season start, the Mighty Bulls were tipped to be legitimate contenders for at least a top four spot this season.

They currently find themselves in relegation mediocrity instead, and will hope that the knowledge gained by coach Joey Antipas in his attachments with European clubs earlier this year, can find the solution to lift the club from their current gloom.

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