BY HENRY MHARA
FOLLOWING their near-miss to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) promotion last season, Black Mambas will this weekend launch another campaign as they seek a return to the top-flight when the Northern Region Division One League kicks off.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police outfit who used the name ZRP FC last year, have decided to retake their old name Black Mambas this year, as they search for better fortunes in the second-tier division.
Mambas came agonisingly close to promotion last term, beaten to the title by Mushowani Stars who are now rubbing shoulders with the big boys in the Premiership.
But they will no doubt push harder this time around and have made no secret of their ambitions to return to the top-flight.
They have become perennial campaigners for promotion since their demotion in 2013. Since then, they have watched jealously as their rivals clinched the Division One title that comes with a promotion ticket to the PSL.
They will know that they will have another tough battle in their ambitions, as the Northern Region, will, as it has often done in the past, provide tough teams.
Black Mambas will be hoping for a quick start when they open their campaign away to Cranbourne Bullets today.
Besides the ticket to the PSL, the Northern Region, which is sponsored by Ruyamuro Service Stations, is heavily incentivised with the best player of the league getting a car at the end of the season. Consequently, the competition is stiff and all the teams that have been promoted from this division have gone on to do exceptionally well in the PSL.
Gunners and Monomotapa went on to win the league title shortly after getting promotion from Division One, while Harare City and ZPC Kariba went agonisingly close. Herentals last year performed exceedingly well, finishing sixth in the league, ahead of giants such as Dynamos and Highlanders.
Northern Region League weekend fixtures
Today: Cranbourne Bullets vs Black Mambas (2 Brigade), Golden Valley vs Kariba Waves (Rimuka), PAM United vs Black tigers (Muriel Mine), FC National Mbare vs Cam and Motors
(Motor Action), Herentals U20 vs Banket United (Morris Depot), Harare City Cubs vs Chegutu Pirates (NSS), Karoi United vs Ngezi Platinum U19 (Chikangwe), Blue Swallows vs Blue Jets (Manyame Air Base).
Tomorrow: Beta IV vs Grain Tigers (Morris Depot)