All set for nailbiting PSL finale
Lovemore Dube, [email protected]
FOUR Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clubs will engage in swim or sink duels at the weekend when the 2023 season ends after a grueling 34 matches for each side.
Rarely does it get so exciting at the bottom of the log that as many as four teams need a win badly to survive the dreaded chop.
To tussle for survival are Sheasham who are 17th on the log, Black Rhinos (16), Triangle (15), Yadah who are 14th and ZPC Kariba who are 13th.
Only one of the four teams will survive while the other three will join already relegated Cranborne Bullets.
At the other end of the log Ngezi Platinum have already wrapped up the title on 66 points, nine ahead of Dynamos who are tied with Manica Diamonds and are only separated by a goal difference.
Of the quintet Kariba have 38 points and a minus 24 goal difference. They wrap up their 2023 season with a Cranborne side without anything to lose as the army side is already relegated. The power utility owned side is in danger of being overtaken by Yadah who have 37 points and enjoy a minus 12 goal difference.
A draw for Yadah and a loss for the powermen could spell disaster for the Mashonaland West team.
Three teams Triangle, Black Rhinos and Sheasham are tied on 35 points and could have a maximum of 38 points if they win their respective matches on a weekend of fireworks and tears.
Triangle have a minus 11 goal difference at 35 points, while Rhinos has same and Sheasham are on minus 12 all setting the stage for battle royale in matches involving the five clubs.
Yadah face a Herculean task when they face Dynamos. It is not an ordinary Dynamos but one that wants to have a great finish on second position. Despite inconsistencies when on song Dynamos this season showed intent of returning to their fast paced passing game, punctuated with beautiful sleek build ups in the second third.
With Tanaka Shandirwa and Junior Makunike pulling the strings in midfield with aplomb, Dynamos looked a side that got into the race late as the midfielders reminded many of previous DeMbare teams that bossed opponents in the middle of the park with relative ease.
Yadah’s biggest downfall could be high turnover as their players over exert themselves on the field trying to avoid relegation and open themselves up for assault.
The Prophet Magaya-owned side could end on 40 points and on 11th position if they win.
Triangle who were this year hit by low funding may count on the unpredictability of derbies when they clash with Greenfuel away. Derbies are unpredictable as players tussle for bragging rights and in this match it will be more than that as both teams want better positions on the log come end of Match Day 34.
Lying 11th with 40 points, Greenfuel can do their world good with a top 10 finish in their maiden campaign in the Premiership.
Can Black Rhinos survive Simba Bhora?
Rhinos’ stay hinges on how they play against Simba Bhora a very unpredictable side safe from relegation with 40 points.
Rhinos like fellow army side played some good football for most of the season but results were found wanting. Like most institution teams Rhinos struggled for money to motivate players and go onto the market extensively to boost the club.
Sheasham may be 17th on the log but appeared getting to safer shores before a spectacular drop in form. They will entertain FC Platinum eager to repeat their first round 2-1 victory and probably seal a place in the Castle Lager Premiership. But that last minute escape could depend on the other three teams losing their respective matches.
Given the five teams’ form towards the end, it is an open race that may not even produce any sparkles with the teams exiting in that fashion.
The Premier Soccer League is expected to confirm dates and venues today.
Highlanders FC v Ngezi Platinum, Bulawayo Chiefs v Manica Diamonds, Greenfuel v Triangle, Yadah v Dynamos, Hwange v Chicken Inn, Sheasham v FC Platinum, Cranborne v ZPC Kariba, Simba Bhora v Black Rhinos, Caps v Herentals