TWO teams with contrasting fortunes, Highlanders who have gone for six games without a win and How Mine whose unbeaten run is seven matches, clash in a potentially exciting Bulawayo derby at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow. While How Mine are eager to continue with their run, Highlanders are hard-pressed to end their bad spell that has seen them drifting away from the title chasing pack. In fact, it will not be a stroll in the park for Highlanders as How Mine coach Kelvin Kaindu does not want his team to be the first club to lose to Bosso.
Bosso have been on a losing streak since the beginning of the second half of the season that has seen them picking up just a point from a possible 15 while their counterparts have been the best performers in the league amassing 11 points in five matches.
How Mine will be without veteran striker Kuda Musharu who is serving suspension but have able replacements in Tinashe Makanda, Godfrey Nguwodzawo and Mgcini Sibanda who has fallen down the pecking order.
On the other hand, Highlanders welcome back the trio of goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, left back Honest Moyo and midfielder Simon Munawa who missed the 0-1 loss to ZPC Kariba because of injuries and suspensions. The Bulawayo giants will be without striker Ralph Matema who is nursing a swollen knee.
Bosso are on 32 points after 20 games while DeMbare and ZPC Kariba are tied on 31 points. In fact, ZPC Kariba can topple Highlanders today and move from position five to three should they beat Tsholotsho FC at Luveve Stadium.
The electricity generators arrived in Bulawayo on Thursday night and held their final training session at a local school yesterday with coach Sunday Chidzambwa hopeful of a fruitful trip to Bulawayo. The former national team coach who was recently appointed into Zifa’s High Performance Committee alongside Rahman Gumbo, Moses Chunga, Innocent Chogugudza, Taurai Mangwiro and Masimba Chihowa, is wary of Tsholotsho.
“There is no easy team in the PSL. Every game we play is more like a cup final. It’s a tricky game in the sense that they’ll be trying hard to fight relegation which means we’ve to work hard and guard against complacency. I hope the guys will play well like they did against Highlanders,” said Chidzambwa.
Injuries have ruled out ZPC Kariba’s midfielders Talent Chawapiwa and Elvis Meleka for today’s encounter. They will bank on the likes of Thomas Sweswe, Lincoln Zvasiya, Tawanda Nyamandwe, Limited Chikafa and Protasho Kabwe among seasoned players. Tsholotsho will be missing the services of midfielders Bruno Madanhire and Nkosana Siwela who are also nursing injuries.
Lizwe Sweswe, Tsholotsho’s gaffer is optimistic of a victory.
“Obviously we’re worried that we’re playing well but keep conceding goals, but the guys seem to be geared up for ZPC Kariba. We’ve been working on our finishing during the week and I’m happy to say they seem to be mentally ready for the game. Hopefully we will get the win that we’ve been longing for,” said Sweswe.
Ex-Zesco United utility player Zimiseleni Moyo, Thando Ncube, Mostapha Ponyera, Spar Dube and Nickel Marichi are some of the players expected to drive Tsholotsho. Meanwhile, at Mandava Stadium title favourites and league leaders FC Platinum and Chicken Inn face off in a potentially exciting match this afternoon. FC Platinum with 42 points enjoy a five-point lead over second placed Caps United and will want to maintain their lead.
Chicken Inn who beat Tsholotsho 1-0 last week will be hoping to cause an upset on the championship favourites who are hard to beat at Mandava.
Today: Caps United v Mutare City Rovers (National Sports Stadium, 3PM, SuperSport), Chapungu v Border Strikers (Ascot), FC Platinum v Chicken Inn (Mandava), Tsholotsho FC v ZPC Kariba (Luveve)
Tomorrow: Highlanders v How Mine (Barbourfields), Hwange v Triangle United (Colliery), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Dynamos (Baobab, 3PM, SuperSport)