WITH a few days to go before the 2014 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season starts southern and central regions teams have promised fireworks saying they are now waiting for the games to begin.
Highlanders, Chicken Inn, Hwange, FC Platinum, Shabanie Mine, Bantu Rovers and Chapungu are the southern and central region representatives in the PSL.
Southern Eye Sport spoke to coaches yesterday to find out how prepared they were for the league which resumes next weekend.
Hwange coach Nation Dube said they were anticipating a good season since they retained their 2013 squad.
“We retained our players unlike last season where we lost quite a number of players at the beginning of the season,” he said.
“That is going to help us in terms of continuity. We just need to start from where we left off last season.
“If the players have the right mind-set then we will get good results. We started very slowly in the past seasons and we need to change that.
“Our aim is to finish the league in a respectable position and to be a very competitive side. We are also happy that Rodwell Chinyengetere is back. We will start by making him play about 45 minutes.
“As for Nkosana (Siwela), he has not fully recovered. Overally, we are happy with our preparations although we would have wanted to play more friendly matches with premier league clubs,” Dube added.
Hwange beat Chicken Inn 1-0 in a pre-season friendly at Luveve Stadium last Friday.
Last season the coal-miners lost Petros Mhari, Winston Mhango, Aaron Katebe, Allan Tavariswa and Francisco Zekumbawira.
FC Platinum coach Lloyd Mutasa said their aim was to win some piece of silverware.
“Our preparations for the season are going in the right direction. Everything is going well save for injuries in our camp. We have played nine friendlies and we have lost twice. This has given us an indication as to where we are going as an institution. Our target is to do better than last year. We have the material to do that. We want to win some silverware this season,” he said.
Mutasa said they would clash with Dynamos in a pre-season friendly match at Mandava Stadium on Sunday as it will help them gauge their strength and fitness levels against DeMbare.
Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu said they were still working hard in preparation for the season.
“A lot of work still needs to be done before the season starts.
“We need to come up with the right combinations and also there should be cohesion in the team. Our target is to improve, to be consistent and to continue from where we left off last season,” he said.
Bantu Rovers secretary Wilbert Sibanda also said they were awaiting kickoff.
“All is on course, we have submitted our list to the PSL we are waiting for kickoff. Our technical team is working hard to come up with the right combinations.
“The team selection will be based on good performance,” he said.
Sibanda confirmed that Triangle goalkeeper Brighton Chipula is training with the team although he has not signed.
After taking over the reins following the departure of Luke Masomere to Mutare, Shabanie Mine head coach John Phiri is anticipating a tough challenge.
“It is not an easy job to start a new team. The players are there, but they do not have PSL experience,” he said.
“Only two teams will be relegated from the PSL this season that has come as a blessing to us.
“What I want to do is to make a name for myself at the club so that people respect me. We want to finish the league in the top eight.”
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas said they still had a lot of work to do.
“We still have a lot of work to do but we will be ready for the first game of the season against Harare City. We are definitely in the right direction,” he said.
“We have good team. We will be judged by our results. Our target is to finish the season in a decent position on the log table. I reckon if we rise to the occasion we will get more good results.”
The former championship winning coach said former Highlanders player Bhekimpilo “Barca” Ncube could put pen to paper anytime.
Chicken Inn will play Zifa Central Region Division One side Town United at Dulibadzimu Stadium in Beitbridge on Saturday in a friendly.
Chapungu coach John Nyikadzino said they wanted to stay in the premiership.
“We are definitely ready for the challenge. We are just waiting for kick-off. We are not going to be there to make numbers but to compete,” he said.
“We want to consolidate our position and then the rest will fall into place. If you look at the history of Chapungu they have not been relegated in their first year in the league.”
Nyikadzino said they would bank on the players who were part of the team that gained promotion last year while banking on the experience of a new acquisition former Shabanie Mine goalkeeper Roy Mazingi.