PSL mid-term report

HARARE - The 2014 Castle Premiership season reached its halfway stage at the weekend and so far it looks like it is going to be another rollercoaster ride.

At the top of the standings, four teams lead the race for the title with Bulawayo giants Highlanders sitting on the summit with 30 points from 15 matches.

At the bottom, the race to avoid the drop is also complicated with teams like FC Platinum, who are in seventh place can also be dragged into relegation dog fight if they do not starting picking up points consistently in the second half of the season.

Below is the Daily News’ verdict of how the teams performed in the first half of the season.

Highlanders

Kelvin Kaindu’s men have been one of the in-form sides in the first 15 games and deservedly lead the log standings with 30 points.

With 29 goals, the Bulawayo giants are the leading scorers in the division and are averaging at least 1.93 goals per game.

Striker Charles Sibanda seems to be enjoying his game since his return to his boyhood club at the start of the season and leads the Golden boot standings with a total of 10 goals.

At the weekend, Sibanda scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 derby win over Bantu Rovers. 

The only time Bosso tasted defeat was the 1-0 loss they suffered at the hands of defending champions Dynamos last month at the National Sports Stadium.

That was the only blemish on Highlanders’ opening half of the season and if they continue with the same constancy, they will win their first title since 2006.

Highlanders’ title charge will be decided by how the club reacts to losing the South African-bound trio of Peter “Rio” Moyo, Kuda Mahachi and Milton Ncube.

The trio have been influential in Kaindu’s team this season and replacing them will not be an easy task.

ZPC Kariba

ZPC Kariba have been the surprise package of the 2014 season and find themselves in second place on the log with 27 points.

Saul Chaminuka’s men are the only team yet to e defeated this season and after some scepticism people have now taken notice of the danger they pose.

The Kariba-based side had a nightmarish pre-season as they were not sure if they would be allowed to play in the top-flight after Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire threatened to pull the plug on the team’s sponsorship.

After some lobbying, the minister agreed to allow the Zimbabwe Power Company to continue bankrolling the club and they have defied odds.

Chaminuka assembled an experienced team led by season Premiership campaigners like Limited Chikafa, Artwell Nyamiwa, David Rediyoni and Pride Tafirenyika.

Many of the players on the ZPC roster were considered excess baggage at their former clubs but Chaminuka has been able to get the best out of these dinosaurs.

ZPC are extremely difficult to break down and in Dennis Dauda and Ephraim Mwinga they have probably the best centre back pairing in the Premiership.

Judging by the way they have been able to handle the heat in the first 15 games, ZPC are likely to be one of the teams that will have a strong say in the destiny of the title this season.

Dynamos

The defending champions have had a an inconstant first half of the season but still find themselves in third place on the log only three points behind Highlanders.

Dynamos, however, have this ability of grinding out results when they are playing some totally uninspiring football.

Take for example Sunday’s Harare derby clash with CAPS United, Calisto Pasuwa’s men played second fiddle to Makepekepe especially in the second half but still emerged with a valuable point.

DeMbare are a team of the big occasion and have a tendency of mustering winning runs in the second half of the season to win the title.

This is what they have done in the last three years under Pasuwa when they have won back-to-back titles by turning on the heat in the second half of the season.

Although they are in third place and still not playing some decent football, it will be suicidal for Highlanders and the rest of the leading pack to rule out DeMbare.

CAPS United

Makepekepe have put behind them the off-field troubles that endangered their title challenge in the first half of the season.

Taurai Mangwiro’ team have gone for five game without defeat and are now in fourth place tied on 27 points with DeMbare and ZPC Kariba.

CAPS’ woes on the road seemed to be their Achilles heel but in recent weeks, the Green Machine has been picking up wins outside Harare.

The fighting spirit in the squad has also improved and it was evident in the Harare derby against Dynamos at the weekend.

CAPS have failed to beat DeMbare since 2009 and on Sunday it looked like the trend would continue when Murape Murape gave the Glamour Boys a 1-0 halftime lead.

Makepekepe rallied in the second period and deservedly got an equaliser from a Gerlad Phiri free kick. With a bit of luck, United could have won the match but Artwell Mukandi made some telling saves to keep Dynamos in the game.

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