On May 4 2014, Bulawayo giants Highlanders recorded their biggest Castle Lager Premiership win with a convincing 4-0 win against CAPS United at Barbourfields.
By Brian Nkiwane
It was one of those matches that then assistant coach to Kelvin Kaindu Mark Mathe was in charge of.
Bosso scored through former CAPS United winger Rahman Kutsanzira, making a return to his boyhood club Bosso after a two-year stint with the Green Machine, Ozias Zibande, Kudakwashe Mahachi (who has since joined the great trek to South Africa) and Cleophas Dube who is at Witbank in South Africa as well.
After parting ways with Kaindu who has been in charge at Highlanders for the past two seasons due to a string of poor results, Bosso management promoted Mathe to the hot seat and he will take charge of Highlanders’ remaining league and cup matches.
The disaster that struck on September 28, the loss to ZPC Kariba, added salt to a fresh wound as Bosso lost grip to the leading pack of Dynamos and ZPC Kariba, as well as being dislodged to fourth position by CAPS United.
Apparently, Mathe’s first match in charge as Highlanders head coach begins with a date against CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon, a team he beat in the absence of Kaindu.
However, the tough-talking gaffer refused to read much into history and challenged his players to shift a gear up.
“History will always repeat itself yes, but not with football. We have been preparing well and the players and the executive have been supportive. It does not need a prophet from heaven to tell us that we have not been playing well of late. Results speak for themselves. We will be foolish to read into the first league match where we beat CAPS United. They have been playing well, that’s the reason why they are on top of us now. Besides, they have good players and a good coach as well,” Mathe said.
He however, refused to surrender the championship race so early.
“I still believe we are still within reach of Dynamos, ZPC Kariba and CAPS United. If any of the three slip, then we are there. I still believe if we start collecting points we might as well still win the championship.”
Mathe bemoaned the absence of three of his first team players due to injuries.
“We will be without Njabulo Ncube who has an ankle injury, Webster Chingodza who has a toe injury as well as Kudzanai Machazane who has a painful neck.
CAPS United coach Taurai Mangwiro warned Highlanders that they have to be at their best as the Green Machine have a record to protect going into this afternoon’s match.
“I think we have prepared well for this match. A lot of things have changed between then and now. Now that we have presented ourselves with a chance of winning the championship, there is need for us to be committed and to concentrate. Even last year at this time, we were still within the championship range but we blew it up ourselves and it must not be the case this time around,” Mangwiro said.
Mangwiro added that CAPS United need to grind results and stop relying on other teams results.
“Our biggest let down last year was relying on other teams. What we need to do this time around is to grind results for ourselves and move with the leading pact. Four points with six games remaining is not much.”
He added that the Green Machine will miss defender George Nyirenda through suspension but they have been boosted by the return of Stephen Makatuka from suspension as well.
“Nyirenda will be missed because he has been fantastic for us. However, we have other players in the team that can replace him. We also welcome back Gerald Phiri who missed the Black Rhinos tie.”
It remains to be seen whether Mathe will beat Mangwiro for the second time and take Bosso back to winning ways and put pressure on DeMbare, or whether they will be further forced down the log standing.
The zeal to play in the Mbada Diamonds Cup, which is guaranteed by a top four finish, will also add flavour to all the remaining league matches.
Other Matches Today
Shabanie vs Chapungu
Maglas Stadium @ 1500hrs
Hwange vs How Mine FC
Colliery Stadium @ 1500hrs