THE 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures were released on Tuesday and it was interesting to note that local football followers will not wait longer to witness the first instalment of the Battle of Zimbabwe.
Bulawayo football giants Highlanders and their nemesis Dynamos, will clash in the country’s biggest football fixture in Week Five at Barbourfields Stadium.
The blockbuster tie, which is certainly going to attract a full house at Emagumeni, will come after Bosso’s four taxing games against unpredictable ZPC Kariba (home), army side Black Rhinos (away) defending champions FC Platinum (home) and their bogey side Chicken Inn (away).
On the other hand, in their four opening matches of the season, DeMbare will relatively have easy assignments against PSL returnees Hwange (away), newboys Sheasham (home), Simba Bhora (away) and Cranborne Bullets (home).
In the previous season, the first leg tie between Highlanders and Dynamos that was played on 15 May in Bulawayo was abandoned as chaos reigned supreme.
The tense encounter was halted twice, with the second stoppage coming in injury time after Washington Navaya’s controversial goal for Highlanders which resulted in the home fans invading the pitch in celebration.
As a result, DeMbare supporters retaliated and uprooted the goalposts. PSL hit both teams with fines and awarded the match to Highlanders on a three-nil scoreline.
The initial interruption lasted 15 minutes as the home team threatened to invade the pitch after former Dynamos youthful player Bill Antonio’s tackle left Andrew Tandi with a broken leg.
Antonio was shown a straight red card for the tackle, which resulted in clashes between players and officials from both sides.
The second leg match was played on 30 October at National Sports Stadium and it ended as a nil-all stalemate.
This season, the second encounter of the biggest match in Zimbabwean club football, will be played in Week 22 of the campaign that has Simba Bhora, Sheasham and GreenFuel as newboys that have joined the country’s elite football league.
In their first five games, Gweru-based Sheasham will meet 2015 league champions Chicken Inn, Dynamos, Yadah FC, Hwange and GreenFuel.
Simba Bhora will not have an easy start as they will take on Pure Platinum Play, Gamecocks, DeMbare, Yadah FC and Chipangano in their first five matches of the season.
Lloyd Mutasa’s GreenFuel will lock horns with Yadah FC, Herentals, Hwange, Manica Diamonds and fellow newboys Sheasham.