By Eddie Chikamhi
AFTER all the drama and controversy at Rufaro, Hwange coach Nation Dube is pleading for peace and says the past should be forgotten when his team host Dynamos in the cauldron of the Colliery tomorrow in a game the champions need to win to keep their campaign on track.
At Barbourfields, Highlanders will be looking to bounce back to winning ways after their record 23-match unbeaten run was halted, in ruthless fashion, by an inspired Monomotapa last week.
Bosso have a tricky date against a resurgent Black Mambas who have forgotten how it feels to lose a game in recent months. Hwange coach, Dube, who claimed that he was assaulted by DeMbare marshals when his team came to Rufaro, said he had buried the hatchet and moved on with his life.
Yesterday, the big coach said he had no hard feelings against the Glamour Boys.
“The people in Hwange are looking forward to a big game,” said Dube.
“What I would like to tell Dynamos is that we are not boxers and we hold no grudges against them. So I don’t think this should be branded a grudge match. It’s just a football match just like any other that we have played at the Colliery.
“DeMbare should not think that we will ill-treat them when they come here. In fact, we want them to testify that we are football people. As Hwange we would rather spend all our energies on the football pitch because we run our things professionally.”
Interestingly, the Hwange coaches have come under severe criticism for being crybabies.
“People may say the Hwange coaches were complaining too much but that is not the case with us,” said Dube.
“In football we value Fair Play and we can’t just keep quiet when we are being treated unfairly. Hwange is a big brand and we have an image to protect. So we don’t want our name to be dragged in the mud.”
But Hwange have been struggling for form of late as they have now lost four games on the bounce. They were handed a demoralising defeat by Mambas during midweek to drop further down the table.
They are now sitting in 12th place with 26 points and Dube said they desperately need to win to get their campaign back on its feet.
“It’s unfortunate that we have been losing matches of late but I am encouraged by the oneness in the team. These guys are trying their best and I am sure once we start winning, everything that has been happening to us will be a thing of the past.
“We have a good team and we are looking good for Sunday’s game except for a few knocks,” said Dube.
This will be Dube’s second game in charge since he took over the reins from Zambian Tennant Chilumba, who threw in the towel after experiencing a prolonged bad patch.
However, Dube’s key men David Boriwondo, Ocean Mpofu, Gilbert Zulu and Francisco Zvekumbawire were down with injuries and expected to undergo fitness tests yesterday to ascertain their availability.
Former Dynamos midfielder Farai Vimisayi will not be considered for selection as he has been suspended this week for accumulating three yellow cards. It’s getting very hot at the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table and Dynamos coach Callisto Pasuwa has predicted a tough outing for the log leaders.
DeMbare returned to the top of the table last week with a crushing 4-1 win over Shabanie Mine last week but their continued stay at the summit is under threat from rivals Highlanders. Pasuwa wants his charges to maintain their momentum after recovering from a brief mid-season slump in form.
Pasuwa yesterday hinted that the reigning champions will not make major changes to the winning team that played last week as they reported no further injuries this week. Midfield strongman Milton Makopa, defender George Magariro and Zambian striker Derrick Kabwe are still on the sidelines nursing injuries.
But his compatriot Arthur Kaseloki has recovered from a knee problem and could play a part tomorrow as he was included in the travelling party. Kaseloki replaced Desmond Maringwa who is in the United States on Footballers Union of Zimbabwe business.
Pasuwa, however, will not be fooled by their big victory over Shabanie Mine.
“I think it will be a tough encounter because Hwange are not a small team,” said Pasuwa. “Of course, there is always pressure in football but we will try to concentrate. We need a positive attitude.”
Pasuwa and his team were at Morris Depot on Wednesday and watched as Hwange slumped to a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Mambas. DeMbare enjoy a slight advantage over Highlanders in the title race as they are currently sitting on 55 points, only two points clear of the chasing pack.
Dynamos, will, however miss striker Roderick Mutuma who sits out his second match of the suspension for the red card he received at Chicken Inn last week.
“Some of these players are becoming careless for nothing and in the end it could cost the team,” said Pasuwa, as he noted the growing indiscipline in his team. We are going to look into the issues and find a way to put a stop to that.”
At Barbourfields, Highlanders will be looking to bounce back to winning ways after their record 23 match unbeaten run was halted by Monomotapa last week. Kevin Kaindu’s men will be hoping to make good use of home advantage to keep the pressure on the log leaders Dynamos.
Mambas coach John Ncube said he was aware of the difficult situation they find themselves in despite experiencing a good spell of eight matches unbeaten. Mambas have won four and drawn four in their last eight outings, to ease their worries in the relegation puzzle.
“Highlanders will not be easy because they are coming from a defeat in their previous match,” said Ncube.
“Being a team that is fighting for the championship I am sure they would not want to lose two games in a row.”
Chicken Inn FC v Hardbody (Luveve), *Motor Action v FC Platinum (Rufaro), Gunners v Quelaton (Lafarge).
*CAPS United v Monomotapa (Rufaro), Hwange v Dynamos (Colliery), Highlanders v Black Mambas (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Buffaloes (Maglas).
*Matches on SuperSport 9
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