PSL relegation puzzle goes to the wire
THE Castle Lager Premiership relegation puzzle is going to be decided on the last day with at least five teams involved in a tense battle to survive the chop.
Results from last weekend’s games left ZPC Kariba, Yadah, Triangle, Black Rhinos and Sheasham on the brink and uncertain of what the future holds, going into the final round of matches set for this coming weekend.
The suspense, however, will be cracked at the weekend as three teams are set to go down and join Cranborne Bullets, who were the first to bite the dust.
Four teams are demoted every season.
New boys Sheasham, Black Rhinos and Triangle are the other teams currently in the relegation zone after experiencing mixed fortunes last weekend.
Interestingly the trio is tied on 35 points.
They are still hoping for further slip ups by ZPC Kariba (38 points) and Yadah (37) who are also in real danger of facing the chop because of their proximity to the bottom four in terms of points.
ZPC Kariba played a 1-1 stalemate against Simba Bhora last weekend to edge closer to safety and they just need another draw in their last match against Cranborne Bullets to survive. Their goal deficit of -24, which is more than twice higher than their rivals’, could be fatal.
Yadah left themselves in a complicated situation after losing 2-1 to Chicken Inn at the weekend. But they could also escape with a draw in their last match against Dynamos.
But to ensure total safety, going for maximum points against the Glamour Boys will be ideal. Yadah are not likely to find it easy as DeMbare are vying for a second-place finish and would need a win to fend off Manica Diamonds.
Lowveld side Triangle, Black Rhinos and Sheasham have no choice but to win their last matches to enhance their slim chances.
Triangle stumbled in a 1-1 draw against CAPS United last weekend and cannot afford the same kind of result in their last game against new boys GreenFuel if they hope to survive.
Black Rhinos kept the window slightly open for themselves when they beat fellow relegation candidates Sheasham 3-2 in their last match at Bata.
Rhinos were the only team to win among the bottom 11 sides and their coach Saul Chaminuka knows the victory was massive ahead of their final match against Simba Bhora.
“This takes us to the last one and again that is a game that we need to win,” said Chaminuka.
“Since the beginning of the season, our team has not won twice on the trot, and I have been challenging the boys saying “you guys need to win at least twice on the trot. If we had done that I think we would have been way out of the relegation zone.
“But we have this game now, which is a decider. It’s a game that we cannot think of any other result other than a win. The boys know it and it’s now up to them to decide whether we are going to stay or not.”
Sheasham, also on 35 points, have almost thrown in the towel after failing to win in their last three outings.
Their coach Lizwe Sweswe came short of admitting that they had lost the battle to stay in the topflight league. They play dethroned former champions FC Platinum in the last game of the season.
“Look, we tried our best but we conceded from two set pieces and we didn’t defend very well. I have got a feeling that our chances of survival are very low.
“I don’t know; we will see the next match. As a coach, I think I have tried and sometimes failing after having tried is the best way forward,” he said.