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Who will be kings of Zimbabwe soccer?


The Premiership football race is set for a photo finish tomorrow with the big question: Who will be crowned the kings as the three top teams — Harare City, Dynamos and Highlanders — all stand almost equal chances of lifting the coveted title?


Like it has been in the last seasons in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL), the destiny of the 2013 title will be decided in the last minute of the season.

The three fierce contenders, leaders Harare City on 53 points, and second-placed Dynamos and Highlanders both on 51 points, are keeping their fingers crossed for the $70 000 top prize after a pulsating season that, even with 90 minutes of football to be played, still sees six teams fighting for survival.

Any slip-up by the three top teams will present glory for any of the other title contenders.

Conspiracy theories have been flying all over, from Caps United doing Dynamos a favour by beating Harare City or conversely doing the City Fathers a favour by deliberately falling to them.

Another theory postulates that Black Mambas will bite defending champions Dynamos to ensure city gets the title with Highlanders handing Shabanie Mine three points to ensure their survival.

But Highlanders are also smelling glory that is within their reach if they win tomorrow and the other title contenders fall. Harare City face Caps United at the National Sports Stadium (NSS), Dynamos host Black Mambas at Rufaro while Highlanders welcome Shabanie Mine to Barbourfields.

City made their way to the top after beating Highlanders 4-0 last Sunday while Dynamos dropped two points in the 2-2 draw against Chicken Inn at Barbourfields.

The calculators have been out the whole week and permutations, and even the laws of the game, have been reproduced, to try and deduce what can happen in this most riveting weekend in the Zimbabwean Premiership.

Dynamos, for once, need Caps to be their friends, at least for 90 minutes, to such an extent that come tomorrow their fans will rather be at the NSS than at Rufaro.
They need to cheer on their enemy to victory and hope that the other blue half will do the same at Rufaro.

For Highlanders, their championship race has been derailed by the in-and-out coach Kelvin Kaindu — he is only expected in the City of Kings today. Will his presence appease the angry fans who accuse him of abandoning the black and white ship at a critical stage? Suddenly, everybody is a football fundi and a mathematician! But if truth be told, it might not come to all that: Harare City can just beat Caps United and end of story.
Caps United: From Cup Kings to Kingmakers

In 2004 and 2005, Caps United ruled the roost in the Premiership under Charles Mhlauri, clinching the league and cup double with very little opposition. The Green Machine has won the league title four times, in addition to the CBZ Cup, BancABC Sup8r Cup, the Independence Trophy, the Charity Shield and various other competitions bringing their haul to about 20.

But with the 2013 season just 90 minutes away, the Cup Kings have emerged as the Kingmakers as they prepare to face Harare City at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.

Hwange have best chance of surviving relegation when they host Motor Action at the Colliery tomorrow while Black Rhinos can also count on three points from Monomotapa at Gwanzura. This can only add to the intrigue of the last-day heartache. Hwange lie in 10th place with 38 points and three will push them to 41. If Rhinos win, they will move to 40 points. In the event Black Mambas fail to beat Dynamos, then the police side will be relegated.
Buffaloes also have 38 points and their fate is in the hands of FC Platinum at Mandava. Does the PSL have three trophies . . . just in case?

The PSL needs to have three trophies at the NSS, Rufaro and Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow just in case the unthinkable happens.

Fans don’t want a handover on another day, they want to be part of the celebrations right at the end of the match. A ceremony later on will see only a few people invited and that carnival atmosphere will be dead.

Highlanders have their own trophy at 53 Robert Mugabe Way having won the league title four times in a row between 1998 and 99 and 2002. That lessens the headache for the league.

Caps United vs Harare City (NSS), Dynamos vs Black Mambas (Rufaro), Highlanders vs Shabanie Mine (Barbourfields)
Hwange vs Motor Action (Colliery), Monomotapa vs Black Rhinos (Gwanzura), Triangle vs Chicken Inn (Gibbo), FC Platinum vs Buffaloes (Mandava)

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