BY Our Staff
Gunners head coach Thanks “Hwezha” Tengwe has a golden opportunity to make a name for himself as his side take on highriding Highlanders in a Castle Lager premiership match at Barbourfields this afternoon.
Tengwe may become the first coach to stop the Highlanders juggernaut of a 17-match unbeaten run, but that is only if he manages to plot a Gunners victory in Bosso’s backyard.
With Gunners bruised by a three-game winless streak, which has placed them just one place above the relegation zone, there should be enough motivation for them to vacate this drop zone, making history in the process.
However, Bosso, who beat CAPS United 2-0 away in Harare last week, will be a hard nut to crack.
The Bulawayo giants boast of 39 points from 17 matches and will be aiming to defend their seven-point lead ahead of second-placed Shabanie Mine.
Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu has remained diplomatic about his league title intentions.
“We know every team wants to beat us, that is why we prepare hard for every game. It is going to be a very tough match for us against Gunners,” he said.
“When we played them in the first leg, we saw their strengths, which we would want to counter and we also want to capitalise on their weaknesses.”
Tengwe, who watched his side crumble to a 1-0 home defeat to the same side last month, has promised an upset for the former champions who have scored nine goals and conceded just one in their last two matches.
“We want to stop them. We want to survive relegation this season, so we have to win. We want to prove a point, that we are a good side and it’s best to do that against Highlanders. We are, however, bracing for a tough match,” Tengwe said.
Bosso’s stars Masimba Mambare, Milton Ncube and Peter “Rio” Moyo, who are enjoying a stellar season, could haunt an almost new-look Gunners squad, which lost key players during last month’s transfer window.
If the current class of Bosso wins all their remaining 13 matches — which is a difficult feat to attain — they will finish the season on 78 points, six more than the tally managed by the championship-winning crop of 2002.
In another match, defending champions Dynamos battle against basement side Quelaton at Rufaro, with the Harare giants still smarting from that rude awakening handed to them by minnows Blue Rangers last week. Rangers held DeMbare to a one-all draw.
In their first meeting DeMbare scored half a dozen goals against Rangers without any reply.
Dynamos are also within the frame as genuine title contenders.
Highlanders’ biggest threat is certainly Dynamos who, despite trailing by eight points, are mathematically sitting on their coat-tails courtesy of two games in hand which, if they win, will place them just two points behind the leaders.
This scenario has given the strongest hint that the league race could rumble on until the last day of the campaign.
Just like Tengwe, Quelaton caretaker coach Chipo Tsodzo is seeking to revive the team against Dynamos.
Dynamos workaholic holding midfielder, Milton Makopa is out of the tie, serving a suspension, as well as left-back Ocean Mushure.
This could present inconsistent Devon Chafa and Timire Mamvura a chance to fill in the void left by Makopa, while Augustine Mbara is set to come in for Mushure.
Veteran midfielder Desmond Maringwa is back but is unlikely to start, coming from a long lay-off.
DeMbare have scored five goals in the last five league matches with their strikers failing to come to the party, which has become worrisome in their title push.
The team’s strikers Mutuma and Derrick Kabwe should start finding goals.