Bosso, How Mine face off CHIBUKU CUP BYO DERBY

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo

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.

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