Lovemore Zigara, Midlands Correspondent
THE Zifa Central Soccer League (CSL) roars to life this afternoon with six fixtures lined up across the region while three more games will be played tomorrow.
It promises to be an intriguing and competitive season if what the clubs have been doing during the off season is anything to go by.
Shurugwi-based Nichrut, who on paper have assembled a strong side having gone on an off-season shopping spree where they signed about 10 players with Premiership experience and also roped in ex-Chapungu gaffer John Phiri, start the season as championship favourites.
However, ZPC Munyati, Whawha, Blanket Mine and returnees Border Strikers also have a say in the destiny of the league judging by the quality in their teams.
MSU, TelOne and Vumbachikwe could prove to be the title race dark horses and are capable of springing surprises.
The pick of the opening weekend pits ex-PSL and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services side Whawha taking on Blanket Mine at Whawha grounds this afternoon in what promises to be a blood and thunder encounter.
Whawha’s side was bolstered by the arrival of players from Flame Lily which was dissolved by ZPCS and promises to have a say in the race for the championship.
On the other hand, Blanket Mine were runners up last season and have largely the same team which did duty last year.
Whawha coach,, Luke Petros-Jukulile, is confident of coming up with a positive result.
“Opening games of the season are always tricky because we will still be trying to adjust but judging by the pre-season friendlies that we played, the team is raring to go. We want to take each match as it comes and see where we end on the last day of the season. Tomorrow’s (today) match is a must win for us to boost our confidence as we undertake the campaign,” Petros-Jukulile.
His Blanket Mine counterpart Barnet Vhinkumbu was equally bullish saying they are going to Gweru to collect maximum points.
“We are going to Gweru to collect maximum points. Just like last season our mission is to gain promotion into the topflight league and the only way we can do it is to win our games,” said Vhinkumbu.
Today: Tongogara v Ivan Hoe (Battlefields), Border Strikers v ZRP Gwanda (Dulibadzimu), Black Eagles v Makusha (Buchwa), Whawha v Blanket Mine (Whawha), Vumbachikwe v ZPC Munyati (Vumbachikwe), Silo United v Gwanda United (Mbizo)
Tomorrow: FC Platinum U19 v Telone (Mandava), Kwekwe Stars v MSU (Mbizo), Nichrut v Chrome Stars (Peak Mine)