Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Major boost for Highlanders

By Sikhumbuzo Moyo

HIGHLANDERS Football Club have received a major boost ahead of their clash against Chapungu at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow after three of their players started full training with the coaches hopeful of throwing them into the fray.

Diminutive striker Ozias Zibande
Diminutive striker Ozias Zibande

Diminutive striker Ozias Zibande, dribbling wingers King Nadolo and Rahman Kutsanzira — all started training with the rest of the Highlanders squad following lengthy injury lay-offs as Amahlolanyama prepared for the Gweru airmen.

Bosso coach, Bongani Mafu, said the trio would be assessed fully before they could make a decision on whether to include them in the match-day squad for the Chapungu game.

“They’ve started training yes and their chances are 50-50 because when you are just coming from injury, there is that psychological element that affects you. We also don’t want to throw the boys in and risk having them injured for even longer periods,” he said.

On the game itself, Mafu said they would approach the match with caution but keeping their game plan as they were aware that Chapungu were a cornered side with a point to prove.

Highlanders’ four matches so far have been against opponents with a lot to prove.

They started off against last season’s runners up ZPC Kariba who wanted to prove that their run in their maiden season was no fluke. The second game was against a very confident and psyched up Tsholotsho who came to Barbourfields on the back of a sensational 1-0 shocker against Harare City in the capital.

Game number three saw Bosso squaring up against winless Hwange who had five days before surrendered a 3-1 home lead to draw with ZPC Kariba with just seven minutes to go at the Colliery. Chipangano were naturally eager to erase that home nightmare.

Buffaloes, another team that had struggled to beat the Bulawayo giants, were to be Bosso’s next away opponents and forced a 0-0 draw against their more illustrious opponents at Sakubva on Easter Monday.

And tomorrow, Mafu and crew are up against the only side in the league yet to score.

“We’re in good spirits but very cautious too. Chapungu are a good and strong side but as Bosso we will go in there to play football, not to prove who is physically stronger than the other,” said Mafu.

Chapungu coach John Nyikadzino is on record as saying his players are the most physically fit in the league but their athleticism appears not to have assisted them to score.

With Highlanders’ midfield strongman Nqobizitha Masuku away with the national Under-23 side in Cameroon, Mafu could throw in tried and tested Erick Mudzingwa in that position with Mthulisi Maphosa or Tendai Ngulube providing cover just in front of the central defence of Felix Chindungwe and Teenage “Wonder boy” Hadebe.

Zibande, if he makes it, will be the first choice to partner Thomas Chideu upfront.

From the visitors’ side, veteran Philip Marufu will be key upfront while gangly Tafadzwa Mombeshora’s midfield battles with Bosso players will be one of the key highlights of the match.

Amahlolanyama will be seeking to make it three wins out of three and restore the fear factor for visiting teams to their Barbourfields fortress. The Chronicle