It is a special Sunday today in the Premier Soccer League as Highlanders and ZPC Kariba tussle to preserve their unbeaten start to the season while reigning champions Dynamos’ champion tag comes under scrutiny when they take on Shabanie Mine at Maglas.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The two matches headline the afternoon with great significance to the campaign so far.
It will be a top-of-the-table clash between yet-to-be-beaten Highlanders and ZPC Kariba at Gwanzura and it’s likely to offer an interesting new twist to the title race.
ZPC Kariba have been resilient after refusing to succumb to traditional giants CAPS United with whom they drew 1-1 in the first match of the season while they went on to humiliate Dynamos with a shocking 1-0 win.
Giants Highlanders are waiting to know their fate against Soul Chaminuka’s side and could very well be on the receiving end.
Bosso have a lot at stake, especially winning their first league title since 2006. Mark Mathe has once again been entrusted to lead Highlanders from the dugout in the absence of head coach Kelvin Kaindu who is yet to return from his Uefa B coaching badge course in England. Highlanders attacking left linkman Milton Ncube has recovered from a hip injury and is up for selection.
Ncube was pulled out and replaced by Joel “Josta” Ngodzo in the 77th minute in the match against Chicken Inn and missed the 4-0 routing of CAPS United at Barbourfields last Sunday.
Mathe yesterday said the midfielder, used as a left-back by Warriors gaffer Ian Gorowa in the national team, had passed a late fitness test on Friday together with left-back Bruce Kangwa.
Rahman Kutsanzira, who scored against his former paymasters CAPS United, failed the late fitness test after sustaining a groin injury last Sunday.
Midfielder Peter “Rio” Moyo is not part of the team again, but Mathe said there was nothing amiss.
“Njabulo “Popo” Nyoni has a toothache. [Bruce] Kangwa is part of the team. Rio is not part of the team but it’s nothing unusual.
Selection is based on the type, strategy and quality of game that we are playing and we have 29 players at our disposal,” said Mathe.
Head coach Kaindu is expected to jet into the county today and could be joining the rest of the team in Harare.
Mathe said he holds much respect for ZPC Kariba and is expecting a tough encounter.
“We need the three points more than anything else and our intention and mission going into that game must be known that we want to maintain the consistency. We respect ZPC Kariba, coach [Saul Chaminuka] and his players. They have done well.”
Chaminuka has vowed not to let Highlanders have a field day.
“We are ready for Highlanders,” said Chaminuka. “We are playing a good team and we will do our best. We are the underdogs in this game. We are going to throw everything at them because we need maximum points. Winning will give my players confidence because our target is finishing in the top eight. Avoiding relegation can also be achieved by winning the league. If you win the league you will not be relegated.”
Dynamos are facing one of the sternest tests of the season as they face inform Chinda Boys at Maglas.
What could make life difficult for Dynamos is that Shabanie are so far unbeaten at home.
ZPC Kariba FC vs Highlanders
Shabanie Mine FC vs Dynamos
Buffaloes FC vs FC Platinum @ Sakubva
Hwange FC vs Bantu Rovers