From Paul Mundandi in Zvishavane
Shabanie Mine ………………………0
Highlanders ………………….… (1) 2
BOSSOLONA are simply unstoppable! The Bulawayo giants underlined their status as the Castle Lager Premiership team of the moment when they secured their first win at Maglas since 2001 with a deserved victory yesterday.
While they may have dominated their meetings against Shabanie at Barbourfields, Highlanders had not beaten the asbestos miners at Maglas since the asbestos miners won promotion into the Premiership 11 years ago.
But Zambian coach Kelvin Kaindu yesterday achieved what he failed to do as a player with Bosso — beating Shabanie at Maglas — and crucially Highlanders’ victory saw them increase their lead at the top of the table as old enemies and closet rivals Dynamos dropped two points when being held to a goalless draw by Motor Action at Rufaro.
A goal each by striker Milton Ncube and midfielder Graham Ncube helped Bosso maintain their unbeaten start to the season. They are the only team still unbeaten in the league, having won seven and drawn once in eight attempts.
Yesterday’s win helped Highlanders, now with 22 points, to open a five-point lead over DeMbare and their blistering start to the season has already sparked talks of the championship returning to Bulawayo for the first time since Methembe Ndlovu guided them to the league title.
But Kaindu refused to be carried away, insisting that he was actually building a team for next year. “I am building a team for next season that must play entertaining football. I am happy to collect maximum points and I must admit that both teams had a good game.
“Shabanie are very good side and they started on a high note but we got them on the counter attack,” said Kaindu. Shabanie dictated the pace in the first five minutes but were caught on a counter attack by the visitors a minute later.
But for all their promising start, it was Bosso who surged ahead when Milton Ncube ghosted in from the blind side to head the ball past outdrawn Shabanie goalkeper Victor Twaliki.
A calculated cross from the right by Atlast Musasa caught Boniface Dimanji off guard, leaving Milton Ncube with the time and space to plant his header home. After the goal, Shabanie threw everything they had only to falter after 15 minutes as the visitors seized control of the midfield duel.
Ironically, the midfield has been Shabanie’s weakest department this season. Shabanie had played well against the league’s traditional giants and they had been the better team in their 0-0 draw against Dynamos at the same venue last Wednesday.
But Kaindu’s charges are playing good football and could be difficult to dislodge from the top if their performance yesterday is anything to go by. Even Shabanie coach Luke Masomere admitted as much and saluted the Bulawayo giants.
“Highlanders played better than us after we had controlled the match for 15 minutes. After that we looked disorganised as they dictated pace and I am not bitter. Ndadyiwa bhora zviri nice unlike what happened in Mutare when we lost to Buffaloes a match which had questionable decisions and that is why I refused to comment.
“We are going to reorganise ourselves and I also believe fatigue played a bigger part,” said Masomere after the defeat. Graham Ncube’s effort hit the woodwork in the 20th minute after Bosso had launched another raid and with goalkeeper Twaliki out of his line, he lobbed the ball past him only to see his effort hit the crossbar.
Tafadzwa Mombeshora was on hand to clear the rebound for a corner.
The hosts could have equalised in the 29th minute when Pervington Zimunya got the better of captain Innocent Mapuranga and fed Tarisai Rukanda who was lurking in the box but he fell and the onrushing Lennon Chisunga unleashed a shot that missed the target by inches with Highlanders goalkeeper Sibanda at the other end of the action.
Highlanders troubled the hosts through hard working midfielder Peter Moyo with the miners giving Highlanders a torrid time through Zimunya who was in sparkling form.
Masimba Mambare could have increased the tally for the visitors in the 39th minute but his shot from outside the box was tipped for a corner by Twaliki giving some relief to the home fans who were cheering the miners all the way through.
Mazivise was unlucky not to have scored when he broke loose only for his shot to be saved by goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda in the 72nd minute when the home side was piling pressure to the visitors. Graham Ncube then sealed the win for Bosso following a move initiated by Bruce Kwangwa.
Kangwa made a solo run on the left and went past substitute Kudzanayi Kwashi who was in hot pursuit. He then flighted a cross that the alert Graham Ncube slotted past Twaliki to send wild celebrations among the Bosso faithful who are cherishing the moment they will see their team on the podium popping the champagne bottles.
V Twaliki, B Dimanji, W Ngonya, R Mware, S Muchabayiwa, P Zimunya, T Mombeshora L Chisunga (K Kwashi 73rd minute), C Masocha (N Mazivisa 56th minute),T Rukanda, F Kanda (G Mchiwa 56th minute),
A. Sibanda, B Kangwa, M Mambare, M Maphosa (D Ndlovu 83rd ), I Mapuranga, P Moyo, E Mudzingwa, A Musasa ( B Tshuma 64th minute), G Ncube, M Ncube, A Ndiweni (B Chikaka 50th minute).
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