CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League giants Highlanders will kick off their 2015 campaign with an away trip to last season’s runners-up ZPC Kariba.
The match is likely to be played at Nyamhunga Stadium in the resort town, subject to confirmation from the Zifa-PSL grounds committee during this Sunday’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Harare.
Highlanders are under Bongani Mafu, who took over from Mark Mathe at the end of last year and will be looking to start with a win. ZPC are still under Saul Chaminuka, who led them to second position in their debut season.
Defending champions Dynamos will start the defence of their league title with an easy home fixture against Buffaloes when the new season finally kicks off next week.
March 7 had been set as the provisional starting date for the league, although it is now likely that it might start the following weekend due to the Bob 91 Super Cup that will feature Dynamos, Caps United and Highlanders.
The fixtures were released by the PSL yesterday ahead of this Sunday’s AGM where home grounds for teams, cup competitions and rules and regulations will be confirmed by 16 members of the board of governors.
Dynamos won the league title four times in a row under Kalisto Pasuwa, who left at the end of last season and would be starting a new life under returning coach David Mandigora.
Playing, and possibly winning, the first match at home, will give Mandigora a breath of fresh air after seeing his charges go down 5-6 on penalties to Harare rivals Caps United in last Sunday’s Sino-Zim Cement Cup final.
Caps United, who finished third in 2014, will be at Ascot Stadium on the opening day against newly-promoted Whahwa Prison.
FC Platinum, winners of the Chibuku Super Cup, Zimbabwe’s only representatives in Africa and fourth finishers last season, will be looking for a flying start to league campaign under Norman Mapeza when they host newly-promoted Dongo Sawmills at Mandava Stadium.
Mapeza’s team is playing in the Caf Confederation Cup and will be hosting Sofapaka of Kenya in the preliminary round, second leg at Mandava tomorrow, giving them a head start to the 2015 campaign.
Another new team Tsholotsho Football Club are likely to get a baptism of fire when they travel to Harare City on day one. Harare City have been rebuilding heavily under new coach Taurai Mangwiro who has brought in Tafadzwa Dube, Themba Ndlovu and Tendai Samanja while retaining Francesco Zekumbawira and Osborne Mukuradare.
In the other opening week fixtures, Kelvin Kaindu’s Triangle will have a home date against Hwange, Chicken Inn will host Flame Lily while How Mine will have a date with Chapungu. Sunday’s AGM will approve the stadia which will be used this season with Ascot and Sakubva in danger of exclusion due to dilapidation.
Bulawayo’s stadia – Barbourfields, Luveve and White City – are in good shape following renovations for last December’s Africa Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games while Harare has the traditional Rufaro, Gwanzura and National Sports Stadium.
The meeting will confirm the Chibuku Super Cup and the top-eight competition, sponsored by NetOne under their One Wallet brand while the league is waiting for confirmation from Mbada Diamonds Cup after it was shelved last year.