Highlanders fringe players get chance Big guns progress in Chibuku contest
HIGHLANDERS will field fringe players for their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter against Yadah at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
After seeing his charges putting up a gallant fight to come f rom a goal down and progress to the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup at the expense of Yadah on Sunday, Bosso coach Madinda Ndlovu fears his players might suffer burn outs.
“The boys seem fatigued and we have a midweek game. I’ll put my head on the block and use the other players who are still fresh. If we use these players, we will get nothing from these boys playing them on Wednesday and over the weekend,” said Ndlovu.
Tomorrow’s encounter presents Highlanders’ fringe players an opportunity to prove that they deserve to play for the Bulawayo giants.
Some of the players likely to be given game time tomorrow include right-back Bukhosi Ncube, who is back to full fitness following a long injury layoff, club captain Honest Moyo, who has been relegated to the bench by improving youngster Mbongeni Ndlovu.
Young central defenders Vincent Moyo and Andrew Mbeba, midfielders Ben Musaka, Munyaradzi Chitambwe, winger Godfrey Makaruse as well as striker Thabo Lunga are likely to be given starts by Ndlovu.
Ndlovu has demanded that his players win the Chibuku Super Cup and fight for a top four finish in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League to prove that the club’s rebuilding project is on the right track.
Bosso are already out of the championship race and presently sit seventh on the league table with 39 points from 26 games.
While Highlanders are chasing a top four finish, Yadah, who camped in Bulawayo after their Chibuku Super Cup exit, are f ig ht ing f o r survival.
Ya d a h have 31 points, three above the drop z on e in
11th p lace . Bulawayo Chiefs, Chapungu and Dynamos are just a point behind Yadah.
Yadah coach Thomas Ruzive said: “Our focus is on surviving relegation, which means we have to work hard. I think the problem we have is that our defenders at times lack maturity and going into our survival fight, we really need to show maturity.”
Yadah have experienced players in their squad that are capable of leading their relegation fight such as goalkeeper Steven Chimusoro, defenders Brian Chikwenya and Byron Madzokere, the midfield duo of Brian Mapfumo and Leeroy Mavunga, as well as veterans Ralph Matema and Simbarashe Sithole.
Meanwhile, former champions Chicken Inn will play host to relegation threatened Chapungu at Luveve Stadium, with Bulawayo Chiefs, who are also hovering above the red zone, taking on Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium. — @ZililoR. THE country’s soccer giants Highlanders, Caps United and Dynamos kept their hopes of ending the season with a trophy after progressing to the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-finals.
The three will be hoping to avoid each other in the quarter-finals to be played on October 6 and 7.
With league championship chasing teams FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars getting knocked out in the first round, the remaining teams in the competition, Harare City, Herentals, Nichrut, Triangle United and Chapungu, are all capable of upsetting the giants.
Defending Chibuku Super Cup champions Harare City began their quest to retain the trophy with a 1-0 win over First Division bound Bulawayo City.
Triangle needed a penalty shootout, which they won 4-1 against Shabanie Mine to secure passage into the quarter-finals. The two teams had deadlocked 0-0 in regulation time.
Highlanders survived a possible first round exit by coming from behind to beat Yadah 2-1 in a match the visitors had themselves to blame for resorting to time wasting tactics instead of going for the sucker punch.
Dynamos eased 1-0 past Bulawayo Chiefs, while Caps United booked a quarter-final ticket following a 5-4 penalty shootout win over ZPC Kariba.
Pre-tournament favourites FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars were booted out of the competition, with the former losing 5-4 on penalties to Chapungu after their game had ended 2-2.
Ngezi Platinum Stars were shocked by Herentals, who forced the game into penalties after holding the championship contenders 1-1. Herentals then beat Ngezi Platinum Stars 4-3 on penalties.
Nichrut claimed the scalp of Black Rhinos 2-1 at the National Sports Stadium. — @ZililoR.