ZIMBABWE will have just one representative in the Caf Champions League if log leaders Highlanders win the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title.
Bosso who have sprung to become title favourites with a polished display that has seen the Bulawayo giants register 11 wins from 17 matches where they have also managed to avoid defeat, is banned from participating in any continental competitions after withdrawing from last year’s edition of the Caf Confederation Cup. The Bulawayo giants are banneduntil 2015.
According to Caf regulations governing the competition, if banned Bosso win the league title as is increasingly looking likely, Zimbabwe will only be allowed one slot in the competition.
Part of Article 1 of the rules and regualtions reads; “The 12 countries obtaining the best results in the clubs competitions during the previous five years will be allowed to register a second team, namely the runner-up of the national league. If the champion club is not engaged, the concerned country will be authorized to register only one club.”
Highlanders’s otherwise futile spirited attempt to convince Caf to lift their three year ban from continental football all but underlines their confidence that this time they can claim one of the Champions League places, but the body’s resistance may leave Zimbabwe with one representative, depending on the log leaders’ performance.
Highlanders have since opened a seven point gap at the top in the race for the Castle Lager Premier League championship and with the way they dispatched Caps United last week they look more like championship material.
At least five clubs have Bosso within reasonable reach and the championship is far from being bagged.
For some Like, Shabanie Mine coach, Luke Masomere, the championship would be a stretched ambition yet after 17 games with 13 to go they could dream bigger than just a top-eight finish.
A second place finish is achievable and having been glued to second position on the league log from the early days of the season they will fancy holding one and claiming the prized Champions League spot.
The league championship is the ultimate but a Champions League spot is success enough considering how lucrative the competition has become.
At this stage of the season six clubs can entertain reasonable hope for the single Champions League spot, in the event that Bosso cling on to the top, with Dynamos as one of the strong favourites.
DeMbare is a point behind second placed Shabanie but having played two games less.
Having been evicted from the continental club showcase in such embarrassing fashion as to lose with a 7-1 aggregate against Esperance of Tunisia, DeMbare understandably might have a bigger appetite.
On the other hand FC Platinum for all the money they poured into their first campaign this year they were booted out before they had even been noticed.
They too would fancy another go and are looking comfortable in that race with four points separating them and Shabanie.
The race for Champions League football has been cleared for takeoff and it promises to be in an intriguing one considering that the six teams in reasonable contention have just four points separating them.
The target remains a top of the table finish but as grain slowly and surely separates from chuff, some clubs will soon switch ambition to the Champions League spot as Highlanders seemingly race away.
Saturday: Monomotapa v Chicken Inn (Rufaro), Black Mambas v Caps United (Morris Depot)Sunday: Dynamos v Quelaton Rufaro, Shabanie Motor Action (Maglas), Highlanders v Gunners (Barbourfields), Hwange v Harare City (Colliery), Hardbody v FC Platinum (Ascot), Buffaloes v Blue Rangers (Sakubva)