AFTER the storm of violence in the Castle Lager Premiership last weekend, the race for the top gong continues this weekend with Highlanders and Chicken Inn going to battle in another Bulawayo derby while Dynamos engage Buffaloes at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Caps United will make the 738km journey to the Colliery to face Hwange confident of getting maximum points after a sterling performance against Highlanders on Sunday. Dynamos lost 1-0 to How Mine last Saturday and felt robbed by match officials.
Caps United held on for a dear point against Highlanders 24 hours later at Barbourfields (BF). They also felt robbed after a penalty decision in their favour was reversed by the referee.
The characteristics of true championship contenders will therefore be put to the test this weekend as the country awaits to see who among the big three will recover early to pick up maximum points.
For starters, Highlanders will not have an easy match at BF against a Chicken Inn side that have tasted the top spot once (last Friday) and will be determined to make a return against a team that they beat 1-0 in their last outing.
Things have not been rosy of late for the former league champions and a loss will mean a drop down the standings if other results do not favour them.
For the GameCox, three points and more pressure on Kelvin Kaindu is what they would need this weekend. Highlanders are without a win in four league and cup matches and have not won a single derby this season after losing 2-1 to How Mine.
The last meeting between Caps United and Hwange at the National Sports Stadium produced a 2-0 win for the 2005 champions three weeks ago. Are they headed for another win?
Arnold Chivheya, nicknamed BF, will be out of the game after receiving a red card. The threat of Rahman Kutsanzira and Dominic Chungwa has given Caps new impetus.
Dynamos suffered their first loss of the season to Buffaloes almost four weeks ago (3-2) at Sakubva Stadium and laid the blame on poor match officiating, like they have done against How Mine. Yet, it was clear against How Mine that their script to respond to Simba Sithole’s early goal was all wrong.
But that Buffaloes can complete a double at Rufaro Stadium is something else. Dynamos are in serious need of a win as Harare City, who date Monomotapa, seem unstoppable at this stage. Buffaloes massacred Tripple B 5-1 and hat-trick hero Jacob Muzokomba feels they have the steam to turn on the tables on Dynamos, come Sunday.
At the bottom of the standings, Motor Action are away to FC Platinum, who lost 2-0 to Black Rhinos on Sunday and will be desperate to pick up maximum points in front of their home crowd at Mandava.
Lloyd Mutasa will be absent from the Platinum bench as he travels with the Warriors to Zambia tomorrow for the Cosafa Cup Zambia 2013, leaving assistant Tendai Chikuni in charge. Platinum have 26 points, five off leaders Harare City, and a win will do their championship hopes good.
Tripple B will continue their fight against relegation when they host Black Rhinos, who have rewound the hands of time by signing former Warriors striker Gilbert Mushangazhike in their own battle against the chop.
Mushangazhike is a tricky character, a game changer, whose biggest weapon is positioning in the box. Shabanie Mine return to Maglas to host a limping Black Mambas, who were downed 1-0 by Triangle at Morris Depot last weekend.
Shabanie’s morale is at an all-time high after beating Chicken Inn 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the BancABC Sup8r and holding to a 1-1 draw in a league match last week.
While Mambas will fancy their chances at Maglas, Luke Masomere knows the importance of reaching the 35-point magic mark to avoid the chop.