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Football: ZPC guns for honours

ZPC Kariba defender Ephraim Mwinga stalking Dynamos forward Simba Sithole during their Castle Lager match.

ZPC Kariba defender Ephraim Mwinga stalking Dynamos forward Simba Sithole during their Castle Lager match.

CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL)’s surprise package, ZPC Kariba’s head coach, Saul Chaminuka, believes his side can win the league title this season, riding on its great team spirit. ZPC Kariba have always been on the road as they play their home matches away from home at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare until they finish renovations at Chaminuka Stadium, their home ground in the resort town over 350 kilometres northwest of Harare.

But despite their exhaustive and complex travelling schedule, they have enjoyed a fairy tale in their maiden season in the premiership, where they stretched their unbeaten run to 19 games. The league debutants tops the PSL log standings with 35 points, ahead of defending champions, Dynamos, who are in second place with the same number of points but have an inferior goal difference.

Caps United and Highlanders are third and fourth with 33 and 32 points respectively with 19 games played. Chaminuka believe the premiership newcomers can carry on the ‘unbeaten momentum’, right up to the end of the season, a feat which has never been achieved in the league. “Our objectives were very clear that we want to get to 40 the point mark so that we survive relegation,” said Chaminuka in an interview with the Financial Gazette Sport.

“But for me, inside me, everything is possible now. I am convinced, and so do the players, all of them. We now believe that we can go all the way and win the league title. We never thought really we would have a run like this. But what is important now is to guard against having our good run being spoilt.”

Although the team has a tough schedule given that they still have three matches on tap against title chasers Dynamos, Caps and Highlanders, Chaminuka defiantly claim they can still beat the three giants of Zimbabwean football in the reverse fixtures. “We are still to play them and many are of the view that these (Dynamos, Caps and Highlanders) would prevent our (unbeaten) momentum from building but I can tell you that we have a positive mindset and we are ready for them.

One of the bright sparks for Gwenya Rekuchamhembe (Kariba South Hydro), as ZPC Kariba is affectionately known, has been the contribution of goalkeeper and captain, Tendai Hove, who is a serious contender for the goalkeeper of the year award when the selection panel meet towards the end of the season to select the 11 finest players to grace the calendar.

Pride Tafirenyika has also been impressive with bursting runs forward down the right flank and if the team is to fight their near impossible against the three big clubs, they need that kind of gut-busting. All in all, things are looking pretty positive at ZPC Kariba as they have kept key components of their team in place as they ward off interest in their key players while also bringing in a slew of fresh faces which include Daniel Chakupe (formerly of Shabanie Mine) to help them slog through the tough PSL schedule.