Bosso, How Mine face off CHIBUKU CUP BYO DERBY
INJURY hit sides How Mine and Highlanders face off in the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow with both coaches predicting a tough encounter.
The two teams met in the quarter-finals of the competition last season, where Highlanders won 3-1 with goals coming from Felix Chindungwe, Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu and Charles Sibanda. Kuda Musharu got How Mine’s face-saver.
Highlanders went on to lose in the semi-finals to eventual cup winners, FC Platinum.
An epic encounter awaits football lovers at Barbourfields tomorrow, the same venue where How Mine and Highlanders played to a 1-1 draw in a league match in June. Timothy January gave How Mine an early lead before Bosso drew level in the dying stages of the game.
Actually, lady luck smiled on Highlanders as they survived a How Mine onslaught to snatch a point in an encounter that Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda made a series of stunning saves.
However, tomorrow afternoon How Mine will be hoping to knockout Highlanders without injured trio of Benjamin Marere, Morris Kadzola and Mgcini Sibanda.
The goldminers are also fretting over the availability of vice-captain Menard Mupera, central defender Nelson Tachi, January and goalkeeper Donovan Bernard.
“I think we’ve prepared well despite the challenge of injured players. We have 23 registered players and as it is, three of our key members Marere, Kadzola and Mgcini who are ruled out due to injuries, leave us with 20. Mupera, Tachi and January are also nursing injuries but because we can’t do without them, we’ll include them in the final squad,” said How Mine coach Luke Masomere.
The veteran gaffer hinted giving Tawanda Muparati who missed the first half of the season due to a nagging knee injury, a start alongside Louis Matawu.
The casualties at How Mine may lead to Munyaradzi Diya starting ahead of regular goalkeeper Bernard while the backline will be made up of rightback Tapiwa Khumbuyani, Moses Gutu on the left side of defence and centre backs Gilbert Banda and Devon Chafa. Nyasha Mukumbi is also capable of partnering Banda at the heart of defence in the absence of Tachi.
Wonder Sithole, Thembani Masuku, Mupera, Heritein Masuku and Nefitary Ndale will compete for places in the midfield while Godfrey Nguwodzawo and Musharu are expected to lead their strike force.
“I’m not making excuses for having a limited squad due to injuries because the guys that are there are eager to win and progress to the next stage. From the look of things it’s really going to be an explosive yet tough match because Highlanders, just like us, have been playing well. What we want is to progress to the next stage and we’re ready to do so,” Masomere said.
How Mine should really brace for a tough outing as morale at Bosso is high following their famous 1-0 win against perennial rivals Dynamos in a cup game last week when all other teams were on a break.
Highlanders coach Bongani Mafu said besides veteran Mthulisi Maphosa who has a knee injury, Douglas Sibanda who got sick on the eve of Dynamos’ cup encounter in Harare, hasn’t recovered.
Deputy captain Erick Mudzingwa has a knock while Obidiah Tarumbwa, scorer of the solitary goal against Dynamos, has been enduring an upset stomach.
Mafu reported that Knox Mutizwa returned from Young Warriors’ duty in South Africa with an ankle injury and didn’t attend Bosso’s training sessions.
Bosso welcome back Teenage Hadebe and Nqobizitha Masuku who were with the national Under-23 team.
In the absence of injured players, Mafu might be tempted to field his unheralded mid-season signings Obert “Adebayo” Tafira, Thembinkosi Simango, McCarthy Dube and Peter Muduhwa.
The Highlanders gaffer is aware of the need for his team to work harder if they are to beat How Mine who were all over them in a league match two months ago.
“Everyone is feeling great that we beat Dynamos but our focus now is on the game at hand. I believe playing How Mine is going to be a tough game and for us to win this game, we need to punch beyond our level. Remember How Mine are a strong side and they’re within championship favourites. We’ve been working hard to make sure that we get a positive result on Sunday,” Mafu said.
Meanwhile, Premiership table-toppers Chicken Inn take on Hwange at Luveve Stadium this afternoon while defending champions FC Platinum will be home at Mandava to Dongo Sawmill.