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Explosive start to 2024 season . . . Bosso host DeMbare in opener

PREMIER Soccer League seasons have never started like this since Dynamos and CAPS United kicked-off the 2008 season at Gwanzura. 

Exactly 16 years down the line (and still counting), the Glamour Boys and the Green Machine have never met on Match Day One again. 

But the atmosphere they created in that 1-1 draw at the 15 000-seater stadium, chosen to host the Harare Derby in the absence of Rufaro Stadium whose pitch was being fitted with an Astro-turf, set a good tone for the rest of the season. 

And it could even be better this term with Dynamos getting the ball rolling in the ultimate battle against Highlanders in the country’s biggest fixture. 

Duels between the two have previously been marred by controversies and violence due to tensions driven by the teams’ positions on the log, but this one being the season opener could deliver some good spectacle on and off the field of play. 

Highlanders will be the home team and the tie is most likely to be staged at Barbourfields, subject to the stadium being cleared to host top-flight games. 

The PSL published the 2024 league fixtures yesterday and there are so many other interesting match-ups on the opening day.

The league is expected to kick-off on the weekend of 1-3 March, exactly a week after Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum battle it out in the Castle Challenge Cup at Baobab. 

And Dynamos coach Genesis “Kaka” Mangombe who is now on a two-year substantive contract having been elevated from an acting capacity a fortnight ago says the next two weeks will be decisive for his team.

“First things first. At the moment, we are focusing on playing the Castle Challenge Cup against Ngezi Platinum,” said Mangombe. 

“You know Ngezi Platinum is a very strong team and this is an opportunity to lift a trophy this early. We are going for it and then we can start thinking about Bosso. Of course, that match is exciting for everyone. We never thought that we would be paired against Highlanders on the first day of the season. 

“But we are not worried about it. We would have been paired against any other team and we would have been as ready as we are for Highlanders. 

“The other good thing is that when playing at Barbourfields it will be good for us. Barbourfields is also our home ground because we have a lot of supporters there and you know we are never going to be intimidated. 

“We will do our best. Playing against Highlanders at the start of the season has its advantages as well as disadvantages. 

“We have several new players, some of them are also still young. If they don’t rise to the occasion, some of them will end their careers there. You don’t get to do well again at times if you fail to rise to the occasion when playing against Highlanders. 

“But we will try to psyche our guys that these are the games that we expect in Zimbabwe and playing one of the biggest derbies will make someone big. Names are built from games like this. 

“I think the new players also have to stand their ground and prove that they are at Dynamos for a reason.” 

DeMbare has several new players including Namibian striker Sydney Uri Khob, Frederick Ansah of Ghana, Tinotenda Makwinja, Nomore Chinyerere, and Temptation Chiwunga among others. 

By the time they face Highlanders, they might have captured former Warriors star Khama Billiat whom they are in advanced talks. 

The 33-year-old player is currently club-less after leaving Kaizer Chiefs upon the expiry of his contract in June last year.

He was expected to jet into the country yesterday but there are some outstanding issues with the two parties which he is waiting to be cleared first. 

Another former Warriors man Kuda Mahachi could also be joining the Glamour Boys and he will likely be available for the Bosso encounter if he gets signed. 

Meanwhile, CAPS United will begin their quest for the 2024 championship with a tricky home tie against Chicken Inn while FC Platinum will entertain newcomers Chegutu Pirates with Manica Diamonds getting the ball rolling against Simba Bhora at home. 

The team promoted from the Eastern Region Division One league last year is yet to be determined with either Tenax or Bikita Minerals coming to join the league.

Tenax won the title but Bikita Minerals argued that their opponents in the final match day of the season Grayham had used an ineligible player in their 1-1 draw. 

The Eastern Region, who always conduct their business controversially then gave Bikita Minerals three points and Tenax appealed to the ZIFA Appeals Committee, who are set to hear the issue today. 

Whoever wins between the two will face Herentals away on the opening day of the season.

Herald

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