THE much-awaited Eastern Region Division One football league finally explodes into life this weekend with eight matches lined up.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Unlike last year where the then Moses Chunga-coached side Hippo Valley dominated the league from the very outset, this season has no clear favourite.
Almost five teams are favourites to clinch the sole ticket to the top-flight league in the country.
Last year’s runners-up Mutare City Rovers, Ruwa United and former Premiership outfit Masvingo United, correctional services side Tenax, Mwenezana and Renco Mine are the teams to watch this season.
Matches lined up for this weekend will see Mutare City Rovers face Ruwa United at Rudhaka Stadium tomorrow while Tenax lock horns with Arcturus Mine at Sakubva on the same day.
On Sunday, Chipinge-based side Gaza Gunners is set to lock horns with newcomers Black Eagles at Gaza Stadium, Masvingo will host Eastern Stars at Mucheke Stadium on Sunday while Mwenezana take on Gutu Leopards on the same day.
Other title favourites, Renco Mine, will be hoping for a remarkable start when they engage ZRP Masvingo on Sunday.
Marondera-based side Surrey take on Rimbi Sunshine.
It will also be a battle of new comers when FC Three Leaves take on Premiership side Buffaloes’ sister club Dongo Sawmill on Sunday.
College boys Mutare Polytechnic’s match against Chivhu Stars has been postponed to a later date as the latter are participating at the Technical Education Sports Association of Zimbabwe games currently taking place in Masvingo.
Eastern Region administrator Tedious Machawira said they are expecting a tough race.
“We are expecting a tough race this year, I think there is no clear favourite if you look at it, almost eight teams can fight for the top-honours.
“We have not yet secured sponsorship, but the chairman, Piraishe Mabhena, is making frantic efforts to look for sponsorship to bankroll our league,” he said.