DYNAMOS get the second half of their championship defence underway at Rufaro tomorrow knowing they probably need to repeat their magical show of the last 15 games of last season, to have any chance of beating Highlanders, in this tough marathon.
Bosso, unbeaten in the league this season, are firmly in control of the race but inspirational skipper Innocent Mapuranga knows they need to avoid the poor way they closed the show last season, the worst run among the Big Three, for them to be crowned kings again.
FC Platinum are in a considerably weaker position than they were at this stage last season and they lost the big race last year, after losing too many points in the second half, and if they can change that and fly, in the remainder of their campaign, they have an outside chance of glory.
CAPS United are two points worse off than they were at this point last year but if the Green Machine can evoke the spirit they showed in the second half of the campaign last season, where their performance was better than both Bosso and Motor Action, relegation will not even be a factor.
The Mighty Bulls have been a mockery to the high standards they have set in the past two years and they have played the first half of this season, just as badly as they played the second half of last season, and the picture doesn't look good for them.
Little Shabanie have defied the odds not only to remain alive in the race but still compete at such a high level of intensity but it's hard to see them lasting the distance in this marathon and have the disadvantage of having hosted the big boys at home already.
While football remains a game that enjoys defying what is conventional, which shapes its massive appeal, it's difficult at this stage of this race to look beyond a Dyna-mos/Highlanders showdown for the biggest prize on the domestic scene.
Both DeMbare and Bosso have improved significantly this season and are in a far healthier position, at this stage of the campaign, than they were at this point last year and, that alone, is bad news for the rest of the league.
Highlanders have enjoyed the most spectacular of improvements, under the guidance of coach Kelvin Kaindu, and where they had already lost five games at this stage of the campaign last year, they are yet to be beaten after 17 league matches this season.
The statistics tell the whole story as Bosso's stunning transformation has seen them record a 21,57 percent better success rate, when compared to the same stage this season, and they have added 11 points to the tally they had after 17 games last year.
Given that Dynamos won the league championship last year with a success rate of 64,44 percent, having won 17 and drawn seven of their 30 matches, Bosso's current range, where their success rate has skyrocketed to 76,47 percent, is the stuff of champions.
DeMbare have already bettered the success rate they needed to win the league last year as they are currently running on a 68,88 percent success rate, which is in itself a 13,33 percent jump from the 55,55 percent success rate the Glamour Boys had at the halfway mark of their campaign last year.
But Dynamos' strong run in the second half of the campaign was helped, to a large extent, by the arrival and influence of veteran forward Cuthbert Malajila whose experience and industry helped to transform Rodreck Mutuma into a reliable forward.
There is concern, already, at Dynamos that they might struggle to fill the gap left by Takesure Chinyama and their case hasn't been helped, too, by the way Mutuma has struggled to impose himself in a season where much was expected from him after the breakthrough that came with winning the Golden Boot last year.
But DeMbare fans claim it was the Glamour Boy spirit, rather than individual performances, which carried their team to the Promised Land last year and nowhere was this force, a powerful alliance of supporters and players who badly wanted this success story to be written, more pronounced than at Mandava in their penultimate game.
If Dynamos, who host basement club Quelaton at Rufaro tomorrow, can fashion that magical run of the second half of the season, then the Glamour Boys could be a huge factor in the destiny of the league championship.
Last year DeMbare picked 34 out of a possible 45 points in their final 15 games of the season, having just picked just 24 out of 45 points in the first half of the campaign, as they successfully hunted down the leaders and emerged victorious.
FC Platinum tried to compete, as gallantly as they could, and they reaped 25 out of 42 points in their last 14 games, but the pressure from the Glamour Boys was relentless and, one unforgettable afternoon at Mandava, the Zvishavane side cracked.
Bosso were the worst performers of the Big Three, in those closing stages of the season last year, as they lost six of their final 13 league matches, won just four and drew three.
Their return of just 15 points out of 39 points was the lowest among the Big Three and probably sparked the technical changes that resulted in Kaindu being brought in as the head coach.
It's very clear that this is a very different Bosso team and the impressive way they handled the tough assignment against CAPS United at Rufaro last Saturday, and the ease with which they shifted into top gear in the second half, was a big message to all those who doubted them.
The Bulawayo giants have brought the best out of Masimba Mambare, a player who used to show a lot of promise during his stay in the capital but, frustratingly, never took that extra step to show that he was different from the average blokes.
His cheeky lob, to chip the ball over giant 'keeper Eddie Sibanda, for Bosso's second goal, was an excellent act that could only have come from a player who is brimming with confidence.
CAPS United were the victims on Saturday and they face another tough duel at Morris depot this afternoon against an inspired Black Mambas who have suddenly remembered how to win.
The cold comfort for the CAPS United fans is that it can't get any worse than what has happened, five defeats on the trot, and Taurai Mangwiro knows pretty well that someone turned the Green Machine into a very competitive force in the second half of the season last year.
That person, Lloyd Chitembwe, was deemed excess to baggage in technical changes effected this season and that should help Mangwiro understand the kind of pressure he is going to work under.
From exactly the position they are now today, CAPS United suddenly found their touch last season and picked 21 out of 39 points in their final 13 games.
They will need something like that again, and they have the capacity to do it, but the headlines will be elsewhere -- at DeMbare and at Bosso -- in what promises to be a riveting race from now onwards.