By Grace Chingoma
HARARE – For each of the five years that Highlanders had toiled, for an away win against Monomotapa, they marked it with a goal, in a five-goal punishment at Rufaro, that powered Bosso to the top of the Castle Lager Premiership table.
Given that this is the same team that derailed their league championship march, with that 0-3 mauling at the same stadium last year, it was probably just appropriate that when payback time came, it had to be in such ruthless fashion.
There was also the small matter of Monoz eliminating Bosso from the Mbada Diamonds Cup last year, with that come-from-behind 3-2 victory at the Colliery.
Yesterday, Highlanders flexed their muscles, just when they badly needed to do so after the depressing defeat in their last game, and whipped Monoz into line in a game that had a full package of entertainment for the fans.
For five years, between 2008 and 2012, Bosso had tried and failed to beat Monomotapa in the capital and their last victory had come in 2007, when they were still under the guidance of Methembe Ndlovu.
But that is now history after the Bulawayo giants did it in style as they romped to a victory that was impressive.
A brace from Graham Ncube (25th minute, 90th minute), a brace from the recalled Mthulisi Maphosa (56th, 90th) and a penalty by striker Njabulo “JB” Ncube in the 55th minute powered Bosso to a key victory.
Even a brace by Monoz forward Ishmael Lawe, including a beauty for the opener, were not enough to stop Bosso and his second goal, in the 82nd minute which cut the lead to 3-2, only helped to make the finale exciting.
Highlanders coach, Kevin Kaindu, said it was good to bounce back to winning ways after losing a derby match against How Mine.
“It was good for us. I think Monomotapa have always given us problems. We came from a defeat at the weekend and now it is time to pick points,” said the Zambian gaffer.
“lt has been difficult for us towards the end of matches but today it was good and we managed to score two goals. Most of my players haven’t been consistent but today they tried and Eric (Mudzingwa) who was out for the past nine games came in and stabilised the midfield.
“lt was a tactical change and he is a utility player who can play well both in defence and midfield.”
Monomotapa coach Biggie Zuze conceded defeat and said the visitors were just too strong for them in the second period.
“I think we could have wrapped the match in the first half. Highlanders were too strong in the second half. We are disappointed with the scoreline and not the play,” said Zuze.
“Credit goes to Highlanders, they were just too strong for us. The way the goals came, we couldn’t deal with it. Most of these youngsters, it is their first time to play in the Premiership and don’t have experience at this stage.”
The coach said his team was not really affected by the absence of the duo of Ronald Chitiyo and his skipper Kuda Musharu, who are in Malawi on national assignment. Highlanders were missing midfielder Masimba Mambare and goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya.
Ariel Sibanda bounced back into the starting line-up for his first league match appearance this season. And his first big job was to retrieve the ball from his net as early as the 13th minute, when the hosts drew first blood, through former Gunners’ striker Lawe.
With Monoz settled and dictating the pace in the midfield they could have added another goal before Bosso struck when Graham headed a fine cross from Milton Ncube. Monoz striker Lawe could have thrust his team into the lead again at the half-hour mark but his shot drew some superb reflexes from goalie Sibanda.
In another Monoz raid, Zvikomborero Biseki exchanged neat passes with another youthful midfielder, Praise Tonha, only for his effort to be blocked by central defender Innocent Mapuranga.
Highlanders could have scored four minutes before the break but Njabulo Ncube was denied by Monoz keeper Tapiwa Zvaita after the former Railstars man had received a good pass from Milton, who was a handful to the hosts the whole afternoon.
After the breather, the Zambian mentor pulled out defensive midfielder Hillary Madzivanyika, who was struggling, and threw in Mudzingwa into that holding position. And, just like that, Bosso seized control of the match.
Shortly, Highlanders were awarded a penalty by referee Batsirai Muchenje in the 54th minute when Graham Ncube was brought down in the box by Jimmy Tigere. Njabulo Ncube converted.
A minute later, Njabulo Ncube turned the provider when he received a long pass and sent a through ball to Maphosa, who scored his first of the afternoon, against his former team, and the third for the team.
However, Monomotapa still had other ideas and Lawe took his season’s goals tally to six goals, when he latched onto a fine pass from captain of the day, Obey Mweraheri, and drilled the ball home.
Monomotapa were back in the game, with eight minutes of regulation time still to play, and sensed an equaliser. But Bosso had other ideas and on the stroke of full time Graham got to the end of a ball from Dumisani Ndlovu to complete his brace and end this tie as a contest.
With four minutes added on, Highlanders made the best of the optional minutes and Maphosa made a run and slotted the ball home to complete a fine afternoon for the visitors.
Monomotapa: T. Zvaita, J. Tigere, O. Mweraheri, N. Guyo (C. Boroma 46th minute), C. Rukwani, B. Zvikomborero, M. Mungombe, N. Meson, P. Tonha (H. Masumbuko 61st minute), A. Murimba (N. Tigere 67th minute), I. Lawe.
Highlanders: A. Sibanda, S. Munawa, I. Mapuranga, D. Ndlovu, B. Kangwa, H. Madzivanyika (E. Mudzingwa 50th minute), M. Maphosa, P. Moyo (B. Chikaka 71st minute), M. Ncube, G. Ncube, N. Ncube (H. Masuka 83rd minute).