Inside sport: No favourite for PSL title

That football was last played in Zimbabwe in 2019 when FC Platinum won their third title automatically makes them the defending champions and they only need one more title to be allowed to keep the original Castle Lager trophy for good.


THE Castle Lager Premier Soccer League action has finally returned and this time around, there is no clear-cut favourite to land the crown of Zimbabwe’s football champions.

There was a time in the past when it was pretty obvious that Dynamos or Highlanders would take the title or in 1996 and 2004 when it was straight forward that Caps United would take it.

During those days of the 80s and 90s, Dynamos and Highlanders had the advantage of the power of attraction that every talented or top footballer wanted to turn out for them without even considering financial rewards.

That gave them one step ahead of the other teams as the best talent from the small towns chose to make the trip to Harare to try their luck at Dynamos or travelled to Bulawayo for a date with Highlanders.

In fact, it was the dream of every youngster as they played plastic football in the streets to one day play for either the Glamour Boys or Tshilamoya and others even went to the extent of calling themselves Moses Chunga, Madinda Ndlovu and other household names then, as they played among themselves.

At that time, Caps United, then known as the Cup Kings were also a dominant force but their strength was more in cup tournaments, while the league title was the preserve of Bosso and DeMbare.

Then, there was also a time between 2017 to 2019 in which the balance of football power shifted from Harare and Bulawayo not because of the power of attraction but because of the power if not the lure of money.

That was the time in which cash rich Zvishavane based FC Platinum burst onto the scene buying all the top players on the market and in the process also dominated the Zimbabwean game by winning the league title for three successive years.

That football was last played in Zimbabwe in 2019 when FC Platinum won their third title automatically makes them the defending champions and they only need one more title to be allowed to keep the original Castle Lager trophy for good.

For those not in the know-how, a team that wins one trophy four times in a row — or in other cases just four times —gets the honour of keeping the original trophy forever.

However, the wheels of change have turned and refreshing for Zimbabwean football is the fact that the power of attraction which Dynamos and Highlanders used to have and the power of cash which FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars used to enjoy are gone and all the 18-teams that make up the PSL family are in the 2021/22 season fighting for the title on equal terms.

The performance of the Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, and Malawi, at Afcon 2021, is proof enough that there are no small teams in football anymore and on that premise, it would be foolhardy to dismiss the likes of Bulawayo Chiefs, ZPC Kariba, Manica Diamonds, or even Black Rhinos, as no hopers.

This is because nobody even the most loyal follower back home in the Comoros capital of Moroni gave their team a chance of picking up even a single point in their group but against all odds the Comoros reached the second round and lost for that matter narrowly 2-1 to hosts Cameroon.


More importantly was the showing of Gambia who went all the way to the quarter finals after accounting for Guinea 1-0 in the second round before losing out to the Indomitable Lions in the last eight.

That is what football is now all about and the smooth sailing days of Caps United, Dynamos, Highlanders, and of late FC Platinum, are gone and there are new challengers to the throne.

So far, unfashionable Manica Diamonds are leading the way with maximum points from three matches and the Manicaland based side did their part during the break in strengthening their team to maintain their grip on the standings.

How far, they are going to hang on, depends on how far they did their homework during the one month break but they are also not guaranteed of their continued stay at the top of the table.

Surely football becomes boring and less competitive like the scenario in Germany where every season the title goes to Bayern Munich or in Scotland, where, if it is not Rangers, then it is Celtic, and at least, in Zimbabwe, this year, no one can single out a potential winner.

It would surely be a shock should any of Tenax, Hwahwa, Cranbourne Bullets, Herentals, Bulawayo City, and Yadah win the championship but Caps United, Dynamos, Highlanders and FC Platinum, would also be lucky should any of them take the ticket to represent Zimbabwe in the Caf Champions League in 2023.

The truth is that football is no longer about tradition or past glory and the Zimbabwe Premiership title could find a new home outside Bulawayo, Harare and Zvishavane for the first time in history — This is football, and in it, anything can happen.

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