Relegation scrap intensifies
THE fight to avoid relegation from the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League is as intense as the race at the top. The battle to survive the dreaded chop will intensify today with five teams set to battle it out to retain their Premiership status for next season.
Heading into the penultimate round of fixtures today, Yadah FC (37 points), Shabanie Mine (36), Harare City (35), Hwange and Bulawayo City (both on 34) are all still locked in an intense battle to avoid joining Bantu Rovers and Tsholotsho in Division One football next season.
With just three points separating the five teams, there will be no room for error for the teams battling to stay up.
Shabanie Mine technical director Taku Shariwa, whose side last week ended a four-match winless run with a 1-0 victory over Hwange, said he was confident they would avoid relegation.
“We are ready to fight for the pride of Zvishavane and no one will stop us. We will fight tooth and nail until the last whistle,” said Shariwa.
“We won against Hwange and nothing will stop us from collecting maximum points that will lead us to safety in our remaining games.
“How Mine is a strong side but we are not going to be concerned about all that, we want to score goals to boost our goal difference as well as win games.
“We want to secure our survival when we play against Yadah FC on the last day, so the How Mine game is decisive for us.”
Newly-crowned Chibuku Super Cup champions, Harare City are also entangled in the murky waters of relegation and will be desperate for a win when they lock horns against fellow relegation candidates Hwange at the Colliery.
The Sunshine Boys lost their third game in their last four Premiership matches after going down 1-0 at home against Black Rhinos last Wednesday, and a win will be crucial for them to safeguard the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League status.
Harare City are on 35 points, a point ahead of Hwange who are tied on 34 points together with Bulawayo City, though Bulawayo City have a superior goal difference.
Bulawayo City square off with in-form CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium and a loss will have dire consequences if the other relegation candidates go on to win.
Yadah FC, who are hoping to avoid a quick return to Division One football, will also be hoping to collect maximum points when they host Highlanders at Rufaro.
A win for Thomas Ruzive’s men will boost their chances of surviving the dreaded chop.