IZIQHOLO REGROUP Tsholotsho players end strike, focus on Bosso
TSHOLOTSHO FC players ended their week-long strike yesterday to focus on the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie against Highlanders set for Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The Zhwane Boys refused to train last week, demanding their outstanding two months’ salaries.
Lizwe Sweswe, the Tsholotsho coach, said his charges are geared up for Saturday’s encounter.
His side precariously sits on the last relegation slot in 15th place and Sweswe said they will not be cowed by title chasing Highlanders, as they were now fighting to survive relegation.
“We’re not reading much into last week’s industrial action by the boys. Actually that unforeseen break presented us with an opportunity for the boys to take a break and recharge,” claimed Sweswe.
“What I know is that they want to win and it is matches like these that my players like to shine. Matches against strong opposition in which we’ve been counted out are the ones that give us strength. If they think they are going to cruise past us, then they’re mistaken because I know my players will rise to the occasion, as they want to make a name for themselves.”
Tsholotsho are two points behind third from bottom Mutare City Rovers, who take on Dynamos in Harare on Sunday.
Sweswe, whose side had an attempt at goal ruled out for offside in the reverse fixture that they lost 1-2 to Highlanders, is hoping for improved match officiatingoffiffiffiffiffi ciating on Saturday. “In the firstfifififi rst leg there were instances I felt the referee spoiled the game with some questionable officiating. I’m one person who doesn’t like to comment about match officials, but I hope this time around we will have a match official who won’t be intimidated by the Barbourfields atmosphere. If we lose, let it be because of our mistakes not that an official decided the fate of the game,” said Sweswe. In that game, Highlanders scored through Knox Mutizwa and Prince Dube, while Tsholotsho’s consolation came from their former captain William Stima, who moved to FC Platinum during the mid-season transfer window in July. However, it was the build-up to Highlanders’ second goal which infuriated Tsholotsho, as they felt hard done by referee Hardly Ndazi, who ignored what appeared to be a foul by Rahman Kutsanzira on Simbarashe Gorogodyo. Kutsanzira seemingly used excessive force in dispossessing Gorogodyo of the ball in the centre circle and quickly sent a pass to Benson Phiri, who cleverly set up Mutizwa, who beat an offside trap to square the ball to Dube for an easy tap in.
Tsholotsho’s will be hoping goalkeeper Mariyoni Chang, defenders MacClive Phiri, Nkosilathi Moyo and Thandolwenkosi Ncube, as well as midfielders Zimiseleni Moyo, Bruno Madanhire and Mustafa Ponyera to be in top form as the relegation battle intensifies.
They should, however, expect a tight encounter, as Highlanders will want to quickly bounce back from their disappointing 0-1 loss to Ngezi Platinum Stars in the semifinals of the Chibuku Super Cup.
Bosso are now focusing on the league championship and will want to collect maximum points to maintain pressure on log leaders Caps United, who take on Harare City on the same day.
Simbarashe Gorogodyo Prince Dube