dembare caps.jpgThe Premier Soccer League kicks off this weekend with a full programme of fixtures despite the Warriors being away in Bamako in an African Nations Cup qualifier.

 

 

Unlike in the two past seasons when topflight clubs played for nothing, the stakes are even higher this year as winners are assured of a whopping US$70 000.

The league has generated a lot of interest following the introduction of a new sponsorship deal worth over $600 000.

 

It has been a busy off season as newly promoted clubs such as Platinum FC, Chicken Inn, Blue Ribbons and PSL returnees Zimbabwe Saints managed to lure top players.

Defending champions Motor-Action start their title defence against Black Mambas at Callies Sports Club. The departure of two key players Charles Sibanda and Bheki Ncube who were instrumental in their title chase last season is now being felt at the Mighty Bulls.

Their loss in the CAF Champions League to Ivorian giants Asec Mimosas is likely to affect the team. Two other senior players Sam Mutenheri and William Mupera have been reportedly fired for indiscipline after leading a revolt ahead of the game against Asec Mimosas.

The Mighty Bulls’ boat is rocking before the PSL kicks off and it is unlikely they will retain the championship this year.

 Last year’s runner ups Dynamos kick off their campaign against Kiglon despite having four players in the national team. Goalkeeper Washington Arubi, defender Guthrie Zhokinyi and midfielders Denver Mukamba and Archford Gutu are with the Warriors in Mali.

Coach Lloyd Mutasa will hog the limelight after quitting the Chitungwiza outfit who were his paymasters to join Harare giants Dynamos. Mutasa raided his former club and left with several players including Denver Mukamba, Devon Chafa, Thomas Magorimbo, Dominic Benati, Gift Bello and goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupadengu.

At Rufaro Stadium on Saturday, CAPS Utd date Zimbabwe Saints who make a welcome return to the PSL after being relegated at the end of the 2006 season.  Chikwata are under the guidance of former national team players Willard Mashinkila Khumalo and Agent Sawu.

Debutants  Chicken Inn host fellow newcomers Blue Ribbons at Luveve.  Former Zimbabwe Saints and Highlanders player Chipo Tsodzo has crossed the floor to join debutants Chicken Inn. 

 

FC Platinum who have signed players such as the Ngodzo brothers, Joel and Zephaniah, Bekhimpilo Ncube, Charles Sibanda and striker Norman Maroto face Shooting Stars at Maglas Stadium in Zvishavane.

On Sunday Highlanders host Shabanie Mine at Barbourfields, while Hwange, who have two new Zambian players on their books entertain Gunners at the Colliery.

Masvingo are up against Monomotapa at their homeground Mucheke stadium in Masvingo.