Is the PSL a one-team league?

HARARE - Is this the season that a new champion will be crowned in Zimbabwe's Premier Soccer League?

After three years of Dynamos dominance, the neutral certainly hopes that will be the case.

But the early signs don’t look promising for an end to Dynamos dominance, if the first week of action was anything to go by.

The chance of ending Dynamos’ stranglehold on the Castle Premiership title could have already slipped away from Highlanders, Harare City, FC Platinum and CAPS United in the opening weekend of the 2014 season.

These four clubs were supposed to get a head start this weekend since Dynamos are considered slow starters but they all failed to win against modest opposition.

Dynamos had been handed what looked like the most difficult tie of the opening weekend of the new season as they had to face How Mine in Bulawayo.

The reigning Zimbabwe champions had been stretched every time they took on the gold miners last season and many pundits expected them to come unstuck at Barbourfields Stadium.

Dynamos showed their fighting character as they had to dig deep before finding the breakthrough when Chikuripati defender Brighton Dube scored an own goal in the 89th minute to win the match 1-0.

Highlanders and Harare City were expected to lay down the marker as they all got the ball rolling on Saturday with relatively easy fixtures.

Bosso took on league newcomers Chapungu, who were promoted from the Central Region Division One league, at Ascot Stadium in Gweru.

The Bulawayo giants had a good start against the Air Force of Zimbabwe side but would lose their way in the second half as they could only get a 0-0 draw against the novices.

Even after the match, Chapungu coach John Nyikadzino was disappointed with the draw as he thought Bosso were there for the taking.

“We should have collected three points in this match because we were clearly the better side in the second half in which we should have scored at least a goal,” said Nyikadzino.

All the talk during the off-season break was that Highlanders lacked a 20-goal striker and it was evident on Saturday.

Bosso created decent chances in the first half and with a clinical forward amongst their ranks they should have wrapped up the match before halftime.

Against opposition making the step up from the lower league, Highlanders should have showed their class and emerged from Ascot with maximum points.

Also on Saturday, Harare City, who missed the title last season only on goal difference, were in action against Chicken Inn at Luveve Stadium.

The Gamecocks are a formidable side, but the smart money was on City picking up from last season by winning the match to pile the early pressure on Dynamos.

In the end, the Sunshine Boys were never in the match as Chicken Inn had virtually finished off the tie by halftime with two goals from Canaan Nkomo and Mkhokheli Dube.

Former Motor Action forward Ishmael Lawe scored a third deep into second half injury time to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 victory.

Harare City coach Biboy Mawiwi said: “It’s a bad start after we conceded following a schoolboy blunder from our defender Munyaradzi Munyarimwe.

“Our approach to the game was very casual. It’s very difficult to recover if you conceded early because it makes the opponents stronger. What is important now is that we have to respond and win out next game after this display.”  

It was a chaotic display by City and if they do not to improve drastically they will not have any chance of challenging DeMbare’s dominance.

Another title aspirant, FC Platinum, was on action on Saturday when they took on league debutants Chiredzi FC led by Moses Chunga.

Although Lloyd Mutasa has assembled a young side on paper, the platinum miners are many people’s dark horse for the title.

FC Platinum were, however, far from convincing as they needed a stoppage time equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw with Chiredzi, who played with 10 men after goalkeeper Simon Kasikiri was sent off in the 38th minute.

On Sunday, CAPS United had a chance to kick-start their campaign on a winning note as they took on Premiership debutants ZPC Kariba at Gwanzura Stadium.

Makepekepe fell behind to an 18th minute header by their old boy Pride Tafirenyika and had to chase the game for long periods.

In the end, the Green Machine equalised through Dominic Chungwa in the second half as the match finished 1-1.

CAPS coach Taurai Mangwiro had talked up his team’s ambition of winning the title this season for the first time since 2005.

From Sunday’s performance it was clear that United have a long way to go before they can even think of claiming a top-four finish.

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