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By Mugove Chigada / Published on Friday, 30 Dec 2016 14:23 PM / No Comments / 728 views

30 December 2016

CAPS coach Lloyd Chitembwe
CAPS coach Lloyd Chitembwe

The curtain came down on the 2016 Castle Lager Premiership season end of November.

The biggest story was CAPS United winning the league title on the last day of action but there is more to the storyline in what was an exciting season.
Some can best be summarised in numbers.

1 – CAPS United finally came first in the marathon and coach Lloyd Chitembwe won his first league title in his career. It all came in a season when he was voted Coach of month once and eventually came first in the Coach of the year awards. The achievement also meant that he has won the league title as a player and as a coach, making him one of CAPS United’s great heroes.

2- In a season when the green side of the city was in party mood, Dynamos failed to finish among the top two teams after week 30 for the first time in a decade. Since 2007 when they were crowned champions, the Premiership giants had always been champions or runners-up. They were champions in 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. They finished second in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2015.

3- Champions CAPS United managed to provide three players in the Castle Lager Soccer Stars for the season. Hardlife Zvirekwi was crowned Soccer Star, Leonard Tsipa was runner-up while Ronald Pfumbidzai was among the 11 finalists. Runners-up FC Platinum also provided three players – Petros Mhari, Walter Mukanga and Winston Mhango. The other five players that made the list were Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa, Dynamos right back Godknows Murwira, Chicken Inn’s veteran Clemence Matawu, Hwange star Gift Mbweti and Ngezi Platinum utility man Liberty Chakoroma.

4- The year 2016 marked the fourth year that Norman Mapeza has been head coach in the Premiership and finished the season among the top four teams. In 2008, Mapeza won the league title with Monoz. In 2014 he took over just after mid-season at FC Platinum and managed to finish the season in fourth position. In 2015, the former Warriors captain and coach guided FC Platinum to third and this year he finished runners-up behind champions CAPS United.

This season also marked the fourth time that Kelvin Kaindu coached a team from the start to the end of the season, failing to make a top four finish for the first time. He made the top four in 2012 and 2013 when he was the Highlanders coach. He did not finish the season with Bosso in 2014 but in 2015, he made it into the top four with Triangle. By finishing outside the top eight with How Mine in 2016, this becomes the Zambian mentor’s worst finish since he arrived in Zimbabwe as a coach.

5- At five, Bulawayo was the city with the highest number of PSL teams, hence the highest number of matches hosted in 2016. The city of kings hosted Highlanders, Chicken Inn, How Mine, Tsholotsho and Bulawayo City. The five teams played their 75 home games in the city and they all had four extra away matches in the same city. No other city or town hosted more than 80 league games apart from Bulawayo.

6- Number six seemed to be the lucky number in the Premiership. That is the shirt number for Soccer Star of the year Hardlife Zvirekwi. The season also witnessed one of the most exciting Harare derbies in recent years when a total of six goals were scored at National Sports Stadium. Dynamos had taken a three-goal lead, putting CAPS United’s title charge into disarray. However, the champions made a remarkable comeback to level the scores 3-3 and gain an important point that proved crucial by week 30.

7- There are seven coaches that have won the league title in the country who were in charge of teams for the 2016 season. Norman Mapeza, who was a champion with Monoz in 2008, was this year in charge of FC Platinum. Joey Antipas won the league title with Chicken Inn in 2015 and he was in charge of the same team at the beginning of the season. Rahman Gumbo was a league title winner with Highlanders and he took over at Chicken Inn after Antipas had left. Sunday Chidzambwa, who won league titles with Dynamos, entered his second year in charge of ZPC Kariba this season. Legend Moses “Bambo” Chunga guided Harare City after May, replacing Taurai Mangwiro. Bambo was in charge of Gunners in 2008 when they won the league title. Former Dynamos coach David Mandigora was another championship winning coach in charge of Triangle for the 2016 season. League title winning coach Luke Masomere tried in vain to save Border Strikers from relegation.

8- Two newly promoted teams managed to make it into the top 8, ensuring that they will be part of the Sup8r tournament if PSL eventually manage to secure sponsorship for the tournament. Ngezi Platinum and Bulawayo City defied odds to be part of CAPS United, FC Platinum, Highlanders, Chicken Inn, Dynamos and ZPC Kariba.

9- For the first time in a longtime, there were nine different players from clubs that are not Dynamos or Highlanders on the 11 Soccer Stars finalists. The two giants of Zimbabwe football only provided Godknows Murwira (Dynamos) and Peter Muduhwa (Highlanders).

10- The year 2016 marks the 10th year that Highlanders have not won the title. Bosso last won the league title in 2006 and the big prize has been eluding them over the years. This season they promised much with their display under Dutch coach Erol Akbay but delivered little by end of season.

11- Champions CAPS United brought to an end an 11 year barren spell. They had last won the league title in 2005. Lloyd Chitembwe’s charges managed to seal the title on the last day to brush aside close contenders FC Platinum. In their 11 years in the wilderness, their rivals Dynamos had won the title five times while Highlanders, Monoz, Gunners, Motor Action and Chicken Inn had also managed to win the title. CAPS United bacame champions in a season when their top scorer, Leonard Tsipa, with 11 goals, also won the Premiership’s golden boot.

12- Dominc Mukandi, who was wearing shirt number 12 for Dynamos this season, bacame the only player suspended for the Soccer Star awards in the category of yellow and red cards accumulated. Ten points result in a player being disqualified from the race. He had eight yellow cards (eight points) and one red card (two points). His disqualification marked what was generally a poor season for him in a season when Dynamos was singing the blues while his former club CAPS United finally hit the jackpot.

13- A total of 13 teams in the Premiership were outside the capital Harare. The year 2016 became one of the years in Premiership history when there are very few matches in Harare. Dynamos, CAPS United and Harare City were the clubs ensuring the Harare fans had something for the top flight to watch.

14- The year 2016 was the first time in 14 years that DeMbare have failed to score a goal in the first two games of the season. It was one of DeMbare’s worst starts to the season and coach Paulo George Silva. The number 14 was also crucial for Tsholotsho managed to get that position on the log ahead of Mutare City. That ensured that they survive relegation, the second time in a row that they have had to occupy the last safe position after week 30.

15- A total of 15 players in the Premiership had at least a six yellow cards or five yellow cards and one red going up. These include Dominic Mukandi, Munyaradzi Kunyarimwe, Passmore Bernard, Lawrence Mhlanga, Michael Variso, Mkhululi Moyo, Liberty Chakoroma, Talent Chamboko, Ephraim Mwinga, Collen Kwaramba, Tinashe Mugadzaweta, Zibusiso Sibanda, Stephen Makatuka, Devine Lunga and Marvelous Mukumba.

16- Border Strikers, who finished the season on position six, had one of the highest turnover of coaches in one season. They started with Saul Chaminuka before they fired the experienced coach. Never Malunga took over but never lasted at the what was a financially troubled institution. Luke Masomere eventually finished the season and got the club relegated.

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