By Ricky Zililo
Highlanders’ goalkeeper, Ariel Sibanda, is doubtful for his team’s Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final clash against defending champions Harare City at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
Sibanda, an influential player who has produced numeral saves that have kept Highlanders going this season, missed this week’s training session due to a head injury sustained during Bosso’s 0-0 league draw against Caps United last Sunday.
Highlanders’ coach Madinda Ndlovu said: “Ariel hasn’t been training because of a head injury. We are still waiting to get feedback from the doctor, but seeing that today is Thursday and he (Ariel) hasn’t been training, it shows that the injury is serious.”
In the absence of Sibanda, Highlanders have Nedrick Madeya, who manned the goal area when Bosso beat Yadah 2-1 in a league game, as well as Prosper Matutu.
Striker Tafadzwa Sibanda, who had a deep cut on his forehead, and skipper Honest Moyo, are also out of the Harare trip.
Ndlovu wants his players to win the Chibuku Super Cup to prove that the club’s rebuilding project is on the right track.
“The Chibuku Super Cup is the only meaningful competition that we have to try and compete for. It’s possible to win it, there are three games before the final and it’s only a matter of playing our cards well in this money game.
“The cup game is different from a league game and hence the approach is different because it’s more of a money game. We know our opponents, they have posted good results of late, we’ve played them before and know what they are capable of,” Ndlovu said.
Bosso will be facing City for the second time this season, having beaten the municipal side 2-1 in a league match played in Harare on June 2.
Being a cup game, league form will not count much, with the team that wants it more on the day tipped to progress to the next stage.
As defending champions, Harare City head into the game as favourites.
On their way to the quarter-finals, Highlanders knocked out Yadah in the first round after staging a dramatic late comeback to win the encounter 2-1 at Barbourfields Stadium.
Harare City began their quest to retain the trophy with a 1-0 win over First Division bound Bulawayo City.
Highlanders’ strength on Sunday will be in midfield, which welcomes back Denzel Khumalo who missed the Caps United league encounter through suspension.
Also battling for places in the midfield are the combative Adrian Silla, Brian Banda, Ben Munsaka, Nigel Makumbe, Godfrey Makaruse and Gabriel Nyoni.
In the absence of Tafadzwa, Newman Sianchali will lead Bosso’s attack.
Harare City have equally good midfielders in Tendai Samanja, Ishmael Wadi, Moses Muchenje, Protasho Kabwe, Tatenda Tumba and Jerry Chipangura.
Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final fixtures
Saturday, October 6: Harare City v Highlanders (Rufaro), Chapungu v Caps United (Ascot)
Sunday, October 7: Dynamos v Herentals (Rufaro), Triangle United v Nichrut (Gibbo). The Chronicle.