Relegation suspense in Division 1
16 Southern Region teams begin voting
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