Rel­e­ga­tion sus­pense in Di­vi­sion 1

16 South­ern Re­gion teams be­gin vot­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo Se­nior Sports Re­porter Ray­mond Jar­avaza Sports Correspondent

THE Zifa South­ern Re­gion Di­vi­sion One League’s rel­e­ga­tion ma­trix will be de­ter­mined by the num­ber of Cas­tle Lager Pre­mier Soc­cer League teams that will be axed.

Un­cer­tainty has en­veloped the num­ber of Premier­ship teams to be chopped fol­low­ing a rel­e­ga­tion im­passe at last week’s Zifa Assem­bly’s in­con­clu­sive meet­ing that has left clubs and foot­ball fans alike baf­fled.

Fo­cus has now been on clubs vy­ing for the First Di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship, but as the league goes to its last round of matches, the re­gion is yet to de­cide the num­ber of clubs to be rel­e­gated to the third tier.

Musa Man­daza, Zifa South­ern Re­gion chair­man, said they will wait for the PSL sea­son to end be­fore de­cid­ing how many teams to rel­e­gate.

The South­ern Re­gion Di­vi­sion One League will have to ac­com­mo­date four teams, two from the Zifa Bu­l­awayo Prov­ince Di­vi­sion Two League and the same num­ber from the Zifa Mata­bele­land North Di­vi­sion Two League.

“Last year the re­gional assem­bly made a res­o­lu­tion to have an 18-team league, but we were forced to run with 16 teams after Tru­mus sur­ren­dered its fran­chise and there was also that Nust-Que­la­ton slot, which was not taken up. We also lost ZRP Hwange in the sec­ond half of the sea­son, mean­ing we al­ready have three slots.

“What we will wait for is to see how many teams from this re­gion are rel­e­gated and which one goes up be­fore THE 16 Zifa South­ern Re­gion Di­vi­sion One League clubs have started vot­ing for the 2016 sea­son Footballer of the Year, his two run­ners-up and Coach of the Year.

Bal­lots were dis­patched to clubs last week, with the dead­line for sub­mis­sions set as Novem­ber 19. Once nom­i­na­tions have been sub­mit­ted, club rep­re­sen­ta­tives and mem­bers of the me­dia will be in­vited for vote count­ing and ver­i­fi­ca­tion.

“The me­dia does not cover all our matches and so to be fair to the sys­tem, we asked clubs to do the vot­ing them­selves. The rules are that a club captain and the tech­ni­cal team can­not vote for a player or coach from

fi­nal­is­ing on the num­ber of clubs that will be drop­ping to Di­vi­sion Two,” said Man­daza.

Tsholot­sho FC are pre­car­i­ously sit­ting on 14th po­si­tion on the PSL ta­ble, just a point above Mutare City who oc­cupy the last rel­e­ga­tion slot.

Bor­der Strik­ers have al­ready been rel­e­gated and with the PSL fight­ing to have two clubs rel­e­gated as op­posed to four which the Zifa coun­cil­lors want chopped from their own team. The prizes as well as date for the awards cer­e­mony will be an­nounced in due course,” said Zifa South­ern Re­gion chair­man Musa Man­daza.

Last year Phi­lani Ncube was voted Coach of the Year for se­cur­ing a Pre­mier Soc­cer League ticket for Bu­l­awayo City FC.

Ish­mael Wadi, now with PSL side FC Plat­inum, was voted Footballer of the Year with Bu­l­awayo City FC captain Xolisani Moyo and Tech­no­sphere’s Bekithemba Nyoni fin­ish­ing as first and sec­ond run­ners-up re­spec­tively.

Last year’s awards were spon­sored by the South­ern Re­gion Di­vi­sion One League pa­tron, Bu­l­awayo busi­ness­man Raj Modi. Man­daza said de­spite a few glitches ear­lier in the sea­son, the league pro­gramme ran fairly smoothly.

the top flight, Tsholot­sho FC may sur­vive the axe if they end the sea­son in 14th po­si­tion.

If the South­ern Re­gion doesn’t have a team rel­e­gated from the topflight, they will pray that the win­ner of the league be­tween Bu­l­awayo Chiefs and Bantu Rovers will make it past the PSL pro­mo­tional play-offs.

Should the re­gional cham­pi­ons fail to win the PSL play-offs, it means Hwange Ju­niors, who are in 15th

Two clubs, the Na­tional Univer­sity of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (Nust) and Tech­no­sphere re­lin­quished their fran­chises cit­ing lack of funds to con­tinue in the league, a sit­u­a­tion that dis­rupted the league fix­tures.

Then in mid-May, Bu­l­awayo Chiefs were in­volved in a near fa­tal ac­ci­dent in Hwange en route to Vic­to­ria Falls for a league match.

The team was not in­volved in the league for two months as play­ers and of­fi­cials re­cov­ered from var­i­ous in­juries sus­tained.

“De­spite ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a few glitches dur­ing the course of the sea­son, we are gen­er­ally happy with the man­ner the league pro­gramme was run, but of course there is al­ways room for im­prove­ment,” Man­daza said — @ Ray­mondJar­avza.

place, will be rel­e­gated to the Zifa Mata­bele­land North Di­vi­sion Two League.

Chi­wororo FC have al­ready se­cured them­selves a South­ern Re­gion Di­vi­sion One League slot after win­ning the Zifa Bu­l­awayo Metropoli­tan Prov­ince’s Di­vi­sion Two League last week with two matches to spare.

The other teams fight­ing for the last au­to­matic pro­mo­tion slot from Bu­l­awayo are sec­ond-placed Zim Leop­ards, Ajax Hot­spurs and LG Vul­tures. Leop­ards are on 56 points, while Hot­spurs and Vul­tures are tied on 54 points, go­ing into the last week­end of the sea­son.

In Mata­bele­land North, lead­ers Moto Moto, Mosi Rovers, Baobab Rovers and In­gag­ula are all com­pet­ing for the two au­to­matic slots. — @ZililoR

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