THE long wait to the 2018 Zifa Southern Region kick off is finally over with the first round of matches set to be played this weekend in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North Provinces.
Sixteen clubs will fight for honours this season.
From new boys — CIWU, Moto-Moto, Mainline, and Toronto — to seasoned campaigners, every club wants to stand up and be counted among the best.
And nothing other than good results sets apart the best from the worst.
Tsholotsho and Hwange FC, considered the strongest teams by virtue of previous experience in the Premier Soccer League, are the favourites to win the championship and bounce back into top-flight football.
But nothing is written in cast in football.
Rahman Gumbo, former Highlanders and Chicken Inn coach, has been tasked with winning the title by his new club Makomo.
Anything short of that will spell disaster and a possible unceremonious exit for Gumbo.
“Hiring someone of Gumbo’s calibre says a lot about our expectations for the new season,” said Makomo acting chief executive officer Tinashe Mupunga.
And where there is a winner, there is definitely a loser.
While acknowledging that division one football is not a stroll in the park, Mainline FC co-owner Jonathan Ndlovu said his team was not in the league to make up numbers.
“We spent a lot of money and time building this project from scratch so we will give it our best to stay in Division One.
“No team plays to lose and the same goes for us,” said Ndlovu.
Mainline FC is based in Plumtree.
week one 14 april
Talen Vision vs Zim Leopards (Gifford High 3pm); tsholotsho vs casmyn (luveve 3pm); zrp byo province vs ciwu (fair bridge 3pm); moto moto vs main line (hwange 3pm); zpc hwange vs hwange (hwange 3pm); mosi rovers vs toronto (chinotimba 3pm); bosso 90 vs indlovu iyanyathela (luveve 12pm); nrz lep/chiwororo vs makomo
week two 18 april
main line vs nrz lep/chiworor(Plumtree 3pm); zim leopards vs zpc hwange (Raylton 3pm); hwange vs mosi rovers (hwange colliery 3pm); casmyn vs bosso 90 (turkmine 3pm); ciwu vs moto moto (cresent 3pm); makomo vs talen vision (hwange 3pm); indovu iyanyathela vs zrp byo province (brad barracks 3pm); toronto vs tsholotsho (raylton 12pm)
week three 21 april
zrp byo province vs casmyn (fair bridge 3pm); moto moto vs indlovu iyanyathela (hwange 3pm);nrz lep/chiwororo vs ciwu; talen vision vs main line gifford high 3pm); zpc hwange vs makomo (hwange 3pm); mosi rovers vs zim leopards (chinotimba 3pm) tsholotsho vs hwange (luveve 3pm); bosso 90 vs toronto (luveve 12pm)
week four 28 april
casmyn vs moto moto (turk mine 3pm); indlovu iyanyathela vs nzr lep/chiwororo; ciwu vs talen vision (cresent 3pm); makomo vs mosi rovers (hwange 3pm); zim leopards vs tsholotsho (raylton 3pm); hwange vs bosso 90 (hwange colliery 3pm); toronto vs zrp byo province (raylton 3pm)main line vs zpc hwange (plumtree 3pm)