THE 2016 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) season kickstarts this weekend with defending champions Chicken Inn starting their title defence with a clash against Harare giants Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday. BY FORTUNE MBELE
Focus now shifts to the league for championship-winning coach Joey Antipas after crashing out of the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League with a 1-3 aggregate loss to South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns last month
On the other hand, Dynamos whose four successive title-winning streak was halted by the GameCocks, have engaged Portuguese national Paulo Jorge Silva as they attempt to get back to title glory.
Friday sees the first Bulawayo derby of the season as How Mine clash with new boys Bulawayo City at White City Stadium.
How Mine have engaged former Highlanders and Triangle coach Kelvin Kaindu, while Bulawayo City have Philani “Beefy” Ncube in charge.
Both matches will be beamed live on SuperSport 9.
According the fixtures released by the PSL yesterday, the league programme starts with a game on Friday at White City to pave way for the Zimbabwe Under-20 clash with Botswana in Bulawayo in an Africa Youth Championships qualifier.
FC Platinum are home at Mandava Stadium on Saturday against Tsholotsho FC, who survived relegation on the last day last season.
Triangle, who came fourth last season, are also home to Harare City at Gibbo Stadium on Sunday, while Caps United, who this year have one of the strongest squads on paper, host Chapungu at the National Sports Stadium.
Bulawayo giants Highlanders, under new gaffer Dutchman Erol Akbay, start off the season away at the Colliery to Hwange, who had their head coach Nation Dube suspended following allegations of match-fixing, and his assistant Mebelo Njekwa is likely to be in charge.
New boys Border Strikers make the long trip with coach Saul Chaminuka to Mashonaland West for a date with ZPC Kariba on Saturday.
It’s the debutants clash on Sunday at a venue to be announced as Mutare City Rovers face off with Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Five stadia failed the test after inspection last week and these include Bulawayo’s Luveve, home to Chicken Inn and How Mine, Chapungu’s Ascot in Gweru, Gwanzura in Harare, Sakubva in Mutare and Border Strikers’ Dulibadzimu in Beitbridge.
Friday: How Mine v Bulawayo City (White City SS9)
Saturday: Chicken Inn v Dynamos (Barbourfields SS9), ZPC Kariba v Border Strikers (Nyamhunga), FC Platinum v Tsholotsho (Mandava), Mutare City Rovers v Ngezi Platinum Stars (TBA)
Sunday: Caps United v Chapungu (National Sports Stadium), Hwange v Highlanders (Colliery), Triangle v Harare City (Gibbo)