By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
RESURGENT giants Highlanders and Dynamos on Sunday face a real test to their resurrection when they square off against two sides that are difficult to beat when playing at home.
Bulawayo giants, Highlanders, collide with Caps United at the National Sports Stadium while 610 kilometres away in Matabeleland North, Harare giants Dynamos will be coming face-to-face with Nation Dube’s Hwange at the Colliery Stadium.
The two giants had unusual but similar starts to their season. However, a change of guard in their dressing rooms brought in a change of fortunes on the field of play.
Tshilamoya’s resurgence started in the last week before changes to the dressing room as Madinda Ndlovu led them to a 1-0 home win over DeMbare.
Amahlolanyama have yet to register a loss since then, drawing two back to back matches against Ngezi Platinum and champions FC Platinum while registering identical 1-0 wins over army sides Chapungu and Black Rhinos respectively, results that saw them wheel away from the relegation matrix and suddenly now within touching distance of the leading pack.
Dynamos too have been on a steady rise since that loss to Bosso on June 16, beating Chapungu 1-0, drawing one apiece with Black Rhinos, Caps United and Triangle United, beating Harare City (1-0) and Mushowani Stars (2-0) respectively.
But Tonderai Ndiraya, the Dynamos coach knows that a visit to Hwange is no mere walk in the park or just another Sunday morning kick around.
“Hwange are our bogey side and, besides, they play very well at the Colliery. I have been telling my guys that look, Hwange are a very strong team and they have been performing well of late. What we need to do is to remain focused and try to get a result,” Ndiraya told our Harare Bureau.
For Highlanders, the zeal to register their first away win in 15 outings might spur them on against an equally in-form Makepekepe outfit.
Bosso last recorded an away win last year when they beat Triangle 1-0.
“We are searching for our first win away from home, which is the most important thing for us at the moment. I have been challenging the boys to get those three points away from home.
‘We know it is not going to be easy because Caps United are a tough side which wants to win the league, making it even more difficult for us.
“As much as we carry the underdog tag going into this one, Highlanders is a big club and they cannot afford to take us likely. We are having a good run at the moment and the boys are motivated so we expect to bring a positive result,” said Mandla Mpofu.
But form between Highlanders and Caps United has mattered very little, if some results in the past are anything to go by.
Some remember the trailblazing Green Machine of 2004 under Charles Mhlauri that lost just a single match throughout the season as they marched to their first of the two back-to- back league titles.
That one loss came courtesy of Highlanders who stunned Makepekepe 4-3 at the National Sports Stadium with eccentric Tapuwa “Campos” Kapini scoring that wonder goal which beat his opposite number, Witness Munkuli.
The reverse fixture at Emagumeni had been abandoned with the scores at 3-3 after Caps United were awarded a last minute penalty which was converted by Leonard Tsipa. Bosso at one time had led 3-1. The 3-3 result, however, stood.
Caps United gaffer Lloyd Chitembwe was also in the starting line up for the two back-to-back matches. The Chronicle
Today: Black Rhinos v Chapungu (NSS), Harare City v Manica Diamonds (Rufaro), Chicken Inn v Yadah (Luveve), TelOne v Bulawayo Chiefs (Ascot).
Sunday: Herentals v ZPC Kariba (Rufaro), Caps United v Highlanders (NSS), Hwange v Dynamos (Colliery), Mushowani v Ngezi (Trojan), Triangle v FC Platinum (Gibbo).