Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
IT’S all to play for in the Central Region Soccer League clash of the table-toppers when former Premiership side TelOne FC play host to pacesetters Sheasham in a Gweru derby set for Ascot Stadium.
TelOne, who just spent one season in the topflight league before being relegated at the end of the 2019 season are five points behind Sheasham who have amassed 34 points from 14 games.
The two sides face each other on the second week since league games resumed following a lengthy seven weeks, with TelOne coming from a morale boosting 2-0 away win at FC Platinum Under-19.
On the other hand, Sheasham walked over bottom side Filabusi United who did not turn up for the league game in Gweru.
Coached by seasoned gaffers Tendai Chikuni and John Nyikadzino who both have Premiership experience, the match promises to be a thriller with TelOne fighting to reduce the gap while Sheasham want to maintain their grip on the title run.
In the first leg, the two sides played to a goalless draw.
Nyikadzino said his Sheasham side which remains the only unbeaten team with 10 wins and four draws is ready for Chikuni’s TelOne that has recorded eight wins, five draws and a defeat.
“I think it is going to be an interesting game and we’re geared for the challenge. To some this is a title decider, but we’re taking it just like any other game, giving it the respect and energy, we’ve done with other opponents,” said Nyikadzino.
With the spotlight on the top-of-the-table clash, expectations are that the duel doesn’t generate into a warzone, as in the run-up to 2018 championship, ugly scenes were witnessed as TelOne supporters had running battles with Tongogara fans, after the latter felt match officials favoured the home team.
Sheasham will bank on either goalkeeper, ex-Hwange’s Prince Phiri and Spencer Ngwerume formerly with Caps United to lead them.
The CRSL leaders have three former TelOne employees in the form of ex-Bantu Rovers defender David Mangezi, utility player Tatenda Mapiye and assistant coach Brian Dzingwe in who are familiar with the opponent’s camp.
Former national Under-20 midfielder Pride Ziwengwa is expected to make his debut for Sheasham following his mid-season arrival.
Sheasham will also bank on 23-year-old striker Liberty Masaure who has banged nine goals in 14 games as well as former Chicken Inn winger Physwell Madhazi.
TelOne have among experienced players ex-FC Platinum’s Frank Bushiri, former Highlanders forward Tafadzwa Sibanda and seasoned goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube.
Meanwhile, former Premiership sides Tongogara and Chapungu face off at Tongogara this afternoon.
Tongogara are four on the table with 24 points while Chapungu are a distant sixth with 19 points.
Filabusi who failed to travel for last weekend’s encounter are at home to Bishopstone today, with midtable ZPC Munyati away at Loss Control FC.
Today: Dulibadzimu United v FC Platinum Under-19 (Dulibadzimu), Filabusi United v Bishopstone (Filabusi), Loss Control v ZPC Munyati (Gresham), Tongogara v Chapungu (Tongogara)
Tomorrow: TelOne v Sheasham (Ascot), Paramount v Vumbachikwe (ZRP Gokwe Centre)
P W D L F A GD Pts
Sheasham 14 10 4 0 24 5 19 34
TelOne 14 8 5 1 35 8 27 29
Vumbachikwe 14 8 3 3 22 11 11 27
Tongogara 14 7 2 5 16 9 7 23
Dulibadzimu United 14 5 5 4 16 13 3 20
Kwekwe United 14 5 5 4 14 12 2 20
Chapungu 13 5 4 4 12 10 2 19
FC Platinum U/19 14 4 4 6 11 13 -2 16
ZPC Munyati 13 4 3 6 11 16 -5 15
MSU FC 14 2 8 4 10 11 -1 14
Loss Control 14 4 2 8 9 20 -11 14
Paramount United 14 3 4 7 15 31 -16 13
Bishopstone 14 2 5 7 10 22 -12 11
Filabusi United 14 2 2 10 8 31 -23 8