THE Castle Lager Premier Soccer League action resumes this weekend after a seven-day hiatus that paved way for the Chibuku Super Cup final, with the relegation six-pointer-clash between Chapungu and Yadah at Ascot Stadium arguably the centre of attraction.
BY GARISH PHIRI
With FC Platinum having sewn up the premier league title, the focus has shifted to the relegation battle where one team will join Shabanie Mine, Mutare City and Bulawayo City, who have already been demoted.
The log table, as it stands, has Nichrut occupying the last relegation place at 33 points, with Yadah (39 points), Chapungu (37 points), and Bulawayo Chiefs (38 points) just above them.
What makes Nichrut’s situation dire is that they have to win their remaining two matches and also rely on results from elsewhere for them to survive.
Their relegation rivals, on the other hand, are still in control of their own destiny.
A defeat this weekend, away to Triangle, will seal the Shurugwi-based side’s fate, while a draw will see them carry some little hope of survival into the last match of the campaign, at home to Dynamos.
This brings to the fore the importance of the six-pointer-match between Chapungu and Yadah.
The theory about six-pointers is that the victor takes not only three points, but there is added value in denying your rivals in a similar position the same number of points.
The winner of this contest at Ascot will survive the relegation, leaving the vanquished to take the relegation fight to the last round of matches (hoping that Nichrut would have won at Gibbo), while a draw would only benefit Yadah, who need a point in their remaining two matches to be sure.
“It’s a very tricky encounter since we are both fighting for relegation,” reckons Yadah coach Thomas Ruzive. “They (Chapungu) will be at home and have home advantage, but we are optimistic that we will prevail. Every game for us now is like a cup final, but we have the confidence that we will stay in the league,” he said.
Bulawayo Chiefs need two points from their remaining two matches at home to Highlanders and away to ZPC Kariba to secure their stay.
Meanwhile, the FC Platinum duo of Norman Mapeza and Rodwell Chinyengetere won the coach and player of the month awards for October, for helping guide the team over the line to retain the league title.
The champions will be presented with their trophy soon after their clash with runners-up Ngezi Platinum Stars at Mandava Stadium on Saturday.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures
Saturday: FC Platinum v Ngezi Platinum (Mandava), Herentals v Chicken Inn (National Sports Stadium), Bulawayo City v Caps United (Barbourfields), Harare City v ZPC Kariba (Rufaro)
Sunday: Bulawayo Chiefs v Highlanders (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Mutare City Rovers (Rufaro), Triangle v Nichrut (Gibbo), Black Rhinos v Shabanie Mine (National Sports Stadium), Chapungu v Yadah (Ascot)