Let the games begin!

HARARE - The Castle Premier Soccer League (PSL) 2014 season bursts into life this afternoon with a number of exciting matches lined up across the country.

Four matches are on today, while the remaining four are set for tomorrow and a lot is at stake as 15 clubs battle it out to wrestle the title away from defending champions Dynamos, who have won the league in the last three years.

At the end of last month, Delta Beverages announced a three-year renewal deal with the PSL to remain the league’s title sponsor through their Castle Lager brand and will pour $700 000 this season.

And the winners are guaranteed $100 000, up from the $70 000 that Dynamos received for winning the league in the past three seasons.

It is difficult to pick the match of the day this afternoon as all encounters are potentially explosive matches. Bulawayo fans will be treated to a rare double header as Luveve Stadium host two matches which will be beamed live on SuperSport.

Premiership returnees Bantu Rovers, who bought the franchise of Plumtree Chiefs, will get the ball rolling with a clash with army side Black Rhinos scheduled for 1pm.

Bantu Rovers, who are owned by former Highlanders midfielder and coach Methembe Ndlovu, are making a comeback to the top-flight after being relegated back in 2010.

Tshintsha Guluva will be hoping to start of this campaign with a win over the One Commando-based soldiers, who survived relegation last season by the skin of their teeth.

Chicken Inn will troop onto the same turf for a duel against Harare City at 3:30pm as both teams will want to lay down the marker early in the season.

Harare City, who saw their title hopes slip from their hands right on the last day of the season against CAPS United, will be hoping to get off the ground on a positive note, while the Gamecocks would also want to do well.

The Sunshine Boys’ season is likely to depend heavily on how they go about their business without the talismanic winger Silas Songani, who joined Danish side Sønderjyske at the beginning of the year.

For Midlands fans, who had been starved of top flight football action for some time, all eyes will be on Ascot Stadium where Premiership returnees Chapungu face last year’s runners-up Highlanders. 

The Airforce side showed their pedigree by knocking out Highlanders out of the CG Msipa Charity Shield after having also beaten Harare City by a goal to nil in a friendly match during the pre-season.

If Chapungu’s pre-season form is anything to go by then they are likely to cause major upsets this season and their home ground Ascot Stadium will decide the destiny of the league as the big team teams which are perennial title favourites are not guaranteed maximum.

Moses Chunga’s Chiredzi FC complete today’s fixtures with a tough PSL debut against FC Platinum at Chishamiso Stadium.

Tomorrow will see reigning champions Dynamos visit Barbourfields Stadium for a date against How Mine. The match presents the two teams a chance to put behind the disappointment of exiting the African club competitions.

The gold miners now look serious title contenders after acquiring several seasoned players in the off season and DeMbare should brace for a tough afternoon.

Newly promoted ZPC Kariba will host CAPS United home away from home at Gwanzura Stadium hoping to put behind disturbances that rocked their pre-season.

The Green Machine finished last season empty-handed after crashing in the semi-finals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup and came short in the league championship race before settling for fifth place on the log table and want to improve this season.

Hwange entertain Buffaloes at the Colliery while Shabanie Mine host Triangle at Mglas to complete the weekend’s fixtures. So let the game begins!

Fixtures

Today: Bantu Rovers v Black Rhinos (Luveve, SS9), Chicken Inn v Harare City (Luveve, SS9), Chapungu v Highlanders (Ascot Stadium), Chiredzi v FC Platinum (Chishamiso).

Tomorrow: Hwange v Buffaloes (Colliery), How Mine v Dynamos (Barbourfields Stadium, SS9), Shabanie Mine v Triangle United (Maglas), CAPS United v ZPC Kariba (Gwanzura),

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