DYNAMOS and Highlanders enter the home stretch of a fierce Premier Soccer League title race when they collide in a potential title decider at Rufaro this afternoon.
REPORT BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Leaders Dynamos’ title defence campaign will come under one of the sternest tests this season against a chasing Bosso side eager to tilt the championship race in their favour.
Arriving in the capital sitting on second spot, trailing by two points with five games to go, Highlanders are well aware that a draw would make it difficult for them to upturn Dynamos’ lead.
Highlanders have struggled to beat Dynamos over the past decade in the league, only managing four wins and eight draws, while Dynamos boast commanding nine victories since 2002.
League victory over Dynamos at Rufaro has also eluded Bosso since the 1-0 win in July 2006, the same month they completed a double over DeMbare with another 2-1 victory at Babourfields on their way to lift the title.
However, Dynamos assistant coach Tonderayi Ndiraya has refused to read much into history books and declared war on Bosso, whom they shared one goal apiece with in the reverse fixture at Barbourfields in July. “This is a very crucial match where we have to fight to maintain our position on the log and enhance our chances of retaining the league title,” said Ndiraya.
“This would be a different ball game altogether. Highlanders are very quick on the counter and most teams have fallen from that. We, however, have to play our own game.”
Victory for DeMbare would ring a death knell to Bosso’s title ambitions by setting up a five-point cushion for the leaders and throw the championship beyond their reach.
Maximum points for the Bulawayo giants would help them to claw back on pole position with a one-point advantage.
Bosso had to endure a miserable September where, apart from a share of spoils with Chicken Inn, they slumped to a shock 3-0 defeat to Monomotapa who unceremoniously ended their record 23-game unbeaten streak.
They met another morale-sapping setback last week when they were dumped out of the Mbada Diamonds Cup by “Monoz” again after surrendering a two-nil lead.
With injured Honest Moyo, the only player unavailable in Kevin Kaindu’s war chest, Highlanders are hoping the ghost of Monomotapa will not return to haunt them in a venue where their unbeaten run was halted.
But Kaindu has his own intentions of storming Dynamos’ fortress and emerging triumphant.
“This team I have assembled has already broken a record this season, so what can stop us from winning at Rufaro?” said Kaindu.
“The title race is still open, so we just need to stay focused and know what is at stake for us. We are not concerned about how Dynamos play, but just working on our strengths and weaknesses.”
In a week where the Asiagate match-fixing scandal threatened to overshadow this potentially epic tie, both sides’ coaches said their implicated players had picked themselves up from the psychological trauma they endured.
Kaindu’s scheming of opponents this season has been centred on the midfield partnership of Mthulisi Maphosa and Masimba Mambare, but their midfield compatriot Peter Moyo will have to rediscover his once-sparkling form, while striker Milton Ncube has to regain his scoring boots.
Milton Makopa is out for DeMbare while George Magariro, who was going through personal problems last week, is doubtful although he trained on Friday.
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