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Monomotapa Move Closer To League Title

ZIMBABWE’S CBZ Premier Soccer League has now entered the final home stretch and you have to be coming out of a deep slumber to ignore the potential of Monomotapa to win their maiden championship this season.

Nine points clear and with a game in hand over nearest rivals Njube Sundowns, Monos literally have one hand on the biggest prize in Zimbabwean football.
The 1-0 win over Caps FC at Gwanzura on Tuesday saw the youthful Harare outfit consolidate its position at the top of the league table after 22 games.
There are eight games to go for the ambitious side; 18 points to play for. So all Monomotapa United have to do now is to amass 17 of the points to take an unassailable lead and with it a rare league title for a small team.
Defending champions Dynamos, who are in eighth position, pose the biggest threat as they have played five games less than the log leaders. But then the odds are shortened by the fact that games in hand are not points in hand, and even if we were to assume they win all five, they will only move within one point of Monomotapa.
Interestingly, one of Dynamos’ outstanding matches is against none other than Monomotapa; and who knows, that clash could turn out to be the decider.
Dynamos were beaten 1-0 by Monomotapa in the first half of the season at Rufaro. In fact, one would feel that any team that completes a hat-trick of victories against the league’s “Big Three”, like Monos did when beating Dynamos, Caps United and Highlanders, deserve to be champions.   
To further tilt the advantage to Monos, the five games in hand that Dynamos hold are not the easiest of games: they play Lengthens (away), CAPS United (home), Highlanders (home), Chapungu (home) and Monomotapa (away).
The Chapungu game is set for this Sunday at Rufaro, after which next week the Zimbabwean champions will travel to the north of Cameroon for the return leg of their MTN African Champions League semi-final against Cotonsport Garoua. The Zimbabwean champions trail 1-0 from the first leg.
Still on the PSL, Bulawayo giants Highlanders should have been in the title race but are struggling to get crucial points and the executive has all but admitted that it made an error in firing coach Methembe Ndlovu in August. Recent media reports suggest confidence is at its lowest ebb in the team’s camp.
Even the addition of former striker Zenzo Moyo as team manager and Johannes Tshuma as one of the assistant coaches has not changed the fortunes at Barboufields. The former champions are 14 points shy of Monomotapa. Monomotapa coach Norman Mapeza, in his usual guarded approach, said he is not thinking about the league championship as yet.
“We can determine our winning the title by simply winning our matches one by one,” the former Zimbabwe captain told the club’s website.
“We are not worried about what the teams below us are doing. Whether they can win or lose, we do not care because we have the destiny in our hands.”
Mapeza predicted that the league title could go to the wire.
“This season is an interesting one in that some teams are playing so well and can shock other teams in the process,” he said.
“The gap between those fighting relegation and those winning the title is not very wide.”
The former Warriors defender said the forthcoming matches will not be easy for his side after getting a scare from Caps FC in the midweek.  
“This was a very difficult game for us and I am very happy and relieved that we came out with maximum points. Teams fighting relegation are very dangerous and difficult to play and Caps FC came out fighting from the outset.
“I am very happy that the boys remained focused and patient throughout the match.  Getting that goal was very important for us. It was going to be difficult if we had gone to the breather without a goal.”
Meanwhile, Lancashire Steel are still bottom of the table and need to win more than half of their games to survive the chop.
The Midlanders are tied with Caps FC on 21 points and can both finish on 42 points, assuming they win the remaining sevens game and all 21 points on the line.
Masvingo United, Caps United, Gunners and Eastern Lions are all not safe. —

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