Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Premier Soccer League survival battle continues this weekend with four out of the bottom eight clubs hoping to escape the relegation axe.
Table anchors; Mushowani Stars, Yadah, Hwange, Bulawayo Chiefs, Herentals, TelOne, Harare City and Triangle United are all staring the chop. Just two points separate Bulawayo Chiefs who occupy the last relegation slot from Triangle United. Bulawayo Chiefs are on position 15 with 35 points while Triangle United is on position 11 with 37 points.
Time is running out for the survival fighters who have nine points to battle for to save their Premiership status.
The road to survival starts today.
Bulawayo Chiefs v Chicken Inn (Luveve Stadium): It’s a tricky tie for both sides, with Chiefs out to save their PSL slot while Chicken Inn angles for the championship. Chiefs desperately need maximum points to get out of the hell-hole while Chicken Inn are equally pressed for maximum points to keep up with table-toppers, Caps United.
Chiefs will be without injured striker Farau Matare. The battle is likely to be won and lost in the midfield, where Chiefs have Lucky Ndlela, Shepard Mhlanga, Arthur Musiyiwa, Shadreck Nyahwa and Hughe Chikosa. Chicken Inn’s midfield could be made up of Tichaona Chipunza, Innocent Muchaneka, George Majika, Valentine Kadonzvo and Brett Amidu.
After Chicken Inn, Chiefs will face Highlanders and finish the season with a home game against Herentals.
Harare City v Yadah (Rufaro): Besides being a derby where pride and bragging rights are at stake, the two sides are meeting for the sixth time in the Premiership and both want a win. In their previous five games, they’ve played to three draws, Harare City winning 3-0 in the first leg last season while Yadah won 1-0 in 2017.
Yadah are second from the bottom of the table with 32 points while City are on position 12 with 37 points. After today’s clash, City who have a number of seasoned players who include skipper Marshal Machazane, Ishmael Wadi, Kuda Musharu, Tatenda Tumba and Maxwell Myamupanendengu, will be left with ties against Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Yadah, whose trump cards are veteran Ralph Matema and Leroy Mavhunga, will then play Triangle United and Mushowani Stars.
Survival action spills over to tomorrow.
Mushowani Stars v TelOne (Trojan Mine): TelOne’s mid season best buy with 10 goals King Nadolo takes his act to Bindura hoping to help the WiFi boys escape the chop. Nadolo has been scoring for fun.
TelOne are a point above the drop zone, on position 13 while Mushowani Stars anchor the table with 30 points. A defeat for Mushowani spells doom for them as they would have set one foot in Division One, needing a miracle to survive.
Mushowani’s last games are tricky, travelling to ZPC Kariba before winding up the season with a home tie against Yadah.
TelOne on the other hand will face relegation-threatened Hwange at home in their next assignment and wrap their campaign with a trip to Bulawayo where they will face Chicken Inn.
Hwange v Herentals (Colliery): Having posted two positive results on the road where they drew with Bulawayo Chiefs and Chicken Inn, Hwange will be aiming to sink the students.
Hwange, third from the bottom with 33 points can leapfrog Herentals who are on position 14 with 35 points if they beat their opponents.
Playing at home, the coalminers’ coach Nation Dube said: “The fate of our survival is in our hands. We’ve to try and win at home and get a positive result on the road to survive. The players know what they have to do.”
Triangle United v ZPC Kariba (Gibbo): Triangle seem to have been affected by their Caf Confederation Cup participation as they failed to balance the continental competition with the domestic league.
They still have an outstanding game against Hwange before playing Yadah away and finish their 2019 campaign with a home game against Dynamos.