Relegation battle — real dogfight

HARARE - The fight against relegation from the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League is more compelling just as the race for the championship itself.

While it is FC Platinum, and Dynamos who are now involved in an enthralling battle for the title, there is also a fascinating battle going on at the bottom of the table as five teams are yet to secure their stay in the Premiership for next season.

With two matches left before the season concludes, neither of the teams in the relegation zone can afford to drop points this afternoon.

Bantu Rovers and Tsholotsho have already been relegated from the top flight and two more teams should join them when the season concludes next weekend.

As it stands Hwange, who sit third from bottom with 34 points are only separated by three points with Yadah FC who are on 12th place.

Shabanie Mine, are not safe from relegation just yet, but the Zvishavane-based side have clawed their way out of the bottom four following a mid-week win over Hwange which took their points tally to 36 points.

The 1-0 win over Hwange was a crucial turning point for the Chinda Boys and a win against How Mine this afternoon will all but guarantee their stay in the topflight.

While Shabanie Mine appear to be on course for a great escape, Harare City are faced with an unpalatable prospect of being relegated.

The Sunshine Boys wasted an opportunity to rise up the ladder when they were beaten 0-1 by Black Rhinos in a mid-week fixture. City are on 35 points the same number of points as Bulawayo City, who occupy the last relegation slot on the log table.

Philani Ncube’s charges are in a must win match against Hwange this afternoon at the Colliery in a match that is likely to shape their future.

Ncube has, however, not lost hope.

“One thing for sure is that we don’t have an option now but to collect maximum points in our last two matches. We need to make sure that we collect maximum points in Hwange,” Ncube told the Daily News on Sunday.

“There is no need for us to panic yet. It’s important that we stay positive and remain focused on the task at hand. There is no need to press the panic button, I have been in this situation before and I can assure you that Harare City will not get relegated come end of the season.”

After their clash with Hwange, City’s last game will be against How Mine at home. City thumped How Mine 3-1 last week in the final of the Chibuku Super Cup and will be looking forward to repeat the same feat.

Bulawayo City have a tough assignment against outgoing champions CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.

In their last match, they face already relegated Bantu Rovers. Another team whose stay in the Premiership looks bleak is Yadah. The Walter Magaya-owned side are on 37 points but have a mammoth task in their remaining two matches against Highlanders and Shabanie Mine.

Today: CAPS United v Bulawayo City (National Sports), Yadah v Highlanders (Rufaro), How Mine v Shabanie Mine (Luveve), Chicken Inn v Chapungu (Luveve), Hwange v Harare City (Colliery), Black Rhinos v ZPC Kariba (Morris Depot), Triangle United v Tsholotsho (Gibbo).

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