Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
CHAMPIONSHIP favourites ZPC Hwange and former champions Bulawayo Chiefs clash in a Southern Region Division One League top of the table encounter which promises to be a thriller at Hartsfield Ground tomorrow.
The outcome of the early season meet of the two clubs wearing the title favourites will have a bearing on how the championship race shapes.
ZPC Hwange go into tomorrow’s encounter sitting at the top of the table where they are tied on three points with their second-placed opponents, who have an inferior goal difference.
On the opening day of the season, ZPC Hwange were handed maximum points on a 3-0 scoreline after walking over ZRP Bulawayo Province, who failed to travel to the coalmining town.
ZPC Hwange need to be at the top of their game tomorrow if they’re to overcome Chiefs, who were all over Bosso 90 in the 2-0 win last Saturday.
Chiefs coach Thulani Sibanda, who won two championships with Quelaton and Chiefs, said they expect stiff competition from the Southern Region’s perennial campaigners.
“I think meeting early gives us an opportunity to see how ready and strong we are. Our intentions are clear, we don’t want to be cowards and say we’re rebuilding. As Chiefs we’re in this competition to win and declaring our interests psyches up the players. They know what we want and we will try to fight all the way. Last season we were shaping up the squad, preparing them for the challenge and this time around we’re going for it, but it won’t be easy,” said Sibanda.
Chiefs, who won the 2013 championship before trading their PSL franchise with Bantu Rovers, have assembled what appears to be a strong side capable of running away with the title.
Veteran midfielder Mthulisi Maphosa, whose illustrious career saw him play for continental giants TP Mazembe, ex-Quelaton, Highlanders and ZRP Bulawayo utility player Patrick Mpofu, goalkeeper Josphat Sibanda, formerly with Highlanders and Border Strikers, former Chicken Inn and Bulawayo City midfielder Makhosi Ncube and unheralded Musa Phiri, who played for Chicken Inn’s Division Two side last season, are some of Chiefs’ additions.
Meanwhile, the league has been forced to postpone two games, the Moto Moto and Black Boots and the Mosi Rovers-Makomo encounter.
Moto Moto have pulled out of the league, giving Zifa a headache in terms of fixtures, while Mosi Rovers’ game has been shelved following the death of their striker Munyaradzi Muchenje.