Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Super Sunday Special to decide premiership title

By Robson Sharuko

MOTOR ACTION hold all the aces, and will be carrying the goodwill of many neutrals who are in the corner of little David in a classic battle against a resilient Goliath, but the weight of history will be weighing on the Mighty Bulls shoulders when a riveting Premiership campaign comes to an end on Super Sunday tomorrow.

Never in the history of the domestic Premiership, and probably in the history of the world’s most beautiful game, have the football gods thrown such a unique final day pairing where the two teams chasing league championship glory have a date against the two teams fighting for their lives and who need victory to avoid relegation.

The Mighty Bulls host Lengthens at Motor Action Sports Club tomorrow knowing that victory might certainly not guarantee their maiden league crown with Dynamos providing the threat and needing a final day show, full of goals, to complete a sweep of all the major honours on the domestic calendar for only the second time since Shepherd Murape and his immortal Class of ’76 crushed all before them 34 years ago.

The Glamour Boys have a date against Black Mambas at Morris Depot tomorrow and they also go into that clash knowing that victory alone might also not be enough for them to be crowned champions, for only the second time since the turn of the millennium, and help erase the pain of the past two seasons when they came close, yet so far, from winning the title.

Interestingly, both Lengthens and Mambas need to win to survive and, such is the interesting angle, that they could both win — in a season when the Premiership is sending down four teams for the first time in its history — but wait for the margin of the result from the other game to know who has escaped the chop.

The Mighty Bulls have a plus three better goal difference, which gives them the advantage in the championship race, because it means that their rivals will have to do more because a 1-0 win over Lengthens would mean that Dynamos, who have scored less goals, will have to win by a scoreline like, at least, 5-0.

But the shadow of history is stalking the Mighty Bulls and the Glamour Boys, even with the odds clearly staked against them, will have their spirits cheered by the fact that they have never lost a league championship race that ended in a deadlock with the top two teams having the same number of points.

Ironically Motor Action acquired the franchise of a Blackpool team that was the last side to take the Glamour Boys to the wire, in a losing cause, when the two ended the 1995 league campaign on the same number of points — and the same goal difference — only for Dynamos to win the title by virtue of having scored more goals than their rivals.

History has since recorded that the Glamour Boys were given an unfair advantage during that championship race, with a PSL leadership led by Dynamos boss Morrison Sifelani, sending Blackpool to Kwekwe for a tie against Tongo Boys on Saturday and Dynamos playing Black Rhinos at Rufaro the following day.

Crucially the Glamour Boys knew the scoreline they wanted, against Rhinos, to win the league championship — something which the neutrals have since condemned as unfair advantage — and they won 3-1 on the day, having the character to come back from a goal down, and also repeal the threat posed by an inspired Ian Gorowa for the army side, to grab the championship.

Poor Blackpool were left to rue a diabolical decision by the referee in Kwekwe the previous day, when Alois Bunjira’s effort — which should have given them a 4-1 win that day and, effectively the championship by virtue of a better goal difference, was disallowed in controversial circumstances.

Fifteen years later Motor Action, who have since roped Blackpool directors Ginger Chinguwa and Lecture Mpande into their ranks, have a chance to make Dynamos feel the pain of such a horrible loss on the line — and cheer the spirits of the old Ndochi bosses in their fold — by winning tomorrow and making sure they grab the title.

Rio Tinto have long disbanded but the late John Rugg, whose tough men turned themselves into a force at independence and converted Cam and Motor Mine Stadium into a fortress where the likes of Joseph Zulu, Robert Godoka and David Mwanza became stars, might have carried his tears to his grave.

For in 1983 Rio Tinto had a golden chance to win their maiden league championship crown after a remarkable campaign, in which they took a strong Dynamos to the wire, and the two teams ended the race with the same number of points.

DeMbare ended their campaign with 36 points, during the years when a win was rewarded with two points, the same number as Rio Tinto from their 26 league matches that season. But the Glamour Boys had a better goal difference (plus 36) compared with the goldminers who had a goal difference of plus 26 and Dynamos were crowned champions for the fourth year in a row.

But maybe Rio Tinto’s brave campaign that year, which for the first time after Independence showed that Dynamos could be matched, proved an inspiration for others to try and little bit harder, in the hope of beating the Glamour Boys, and Rhinos ended the DeMbare stranglehold on the championship by winning the following season.

Interestingly only Dynamos and Highlanders — for long the two big powers of domestic football — have won a league championship in a year that ends with a zero, in the 48 years that the locals clubs have fought for the right to be called champions in an organised top-flight league. Dynamos won the league title in 1970 and in 1980 while Highlanders won the title in 1990 and in 2000.

Motor Action will be hoping to become the first club, from outside the Big Two, to win the league title in the year that ends with a zero. If Dynamos triumph in the championship race tomorrow, in the event of both teams finishing with the same number of points, they would complete an incredible hattrick of titles — in a season that ended in a deadlock — to add to their success in 1995 and 1983.

Moses Chunga, who powered Dynamos to championship glory in the ‘80s and turned into a legend at the club before coaching commitments took him elsewhere, said yesterday he believed the Glamour Boys had left themselves with a mountain to climb on the final day.

“I think when they look back they will realise that the loss against Hwange at Rufaro might come back to haunt Dynamos because that was three big points dropped when no one expected it to happen,” said Chunga.

“The point is that if they had settled for a draw in that match, where they even missed a penalty, they would be in the driving seat right now and just needing to win against Black Mambas for them to be champions.

“The other loss, against Kiglon, was also a surprise and that has left them with a lot of work to do on the final day and it’s frustrating when you know that even a win might not be enough to bring the championship.

“But that is the beauty of football and it can go either way and we will watch from a distance because some of us have already started preparing for next year with the aim of not only challenging for the title but also winning the title at CAPS United. We have shown that we have potential and with a few changes and additions we can make a big impact next season.”

Previous Zimbabwe League Champions

1962

Bulawayo Rovers

1963

Dynamos

1964

Bulawayo Rovers

1965

Dynamos

1966

St Pauls

1967

State House Tornados

1968

Bulawayo Sables

1969

Bulawayo Sables

1970

Dynamos

1971

Arcadia United

1972

Salisbury Sables

1973

Metal Box

1974

Salisbury Sables

1975

Chibuku

1976

Dynamos

1977

Zimbabwe Saints

1978

Dynamos

1979

Caps United

1980

Dynamos

1981

Dynamos

1982

Dynamos

1983

Dynamos

1984

Black Rhinos

1985

Dynamos

1986

Dynamos

1987

Black Rhinos

1988

Zimbabwe Saints

1989

Dynamos

1990

Highlanders

1991

Highlanders

1992

Black Aces

1993

Highlanders

1994

Dynamos

1995

Dynamos

1996

Caps United

1997

Dynamos

1998/99

Highlanders

2000

Highlanders

2001

Highlanders

2002

Highlanders

2003

Amazulu

2004

Caps United

2005

Caps United

2006

Highlanders

2007

Dynamos

2008

Monomotapa

2009

Gunners

 

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