Highlanders today becomes the latest of the three Zimbabwean traditional football giants to present their 2015 credentials when they clash with CAPS United in this afternoon’s Bob91 Super Cup elimination match at Barbourfields.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The winner of the match will meet Cup holders Dynamos in the finals scheduled for next Sunday.
Following United’s penalty shootout triumph over Dynamos in last weekend’s Sino-Zim Cement Challenge Cup at a fully packed Rufaro, the clubs gave an insight on what to expect from them this season.
Only Highlanders have not yet showcased what they have in store this season.
Today’s clash would be Bosso’s first competitive match of the year.
They have however played against tough opponents FC Platinum in a friendly match that ended 1-1 with the game attracting little attention.
This afternoon’s clash would have the Bulawayo giants pressed to banish the ghost of being dismal in this Cup.
In the past two years, Highlanders were beaten in the Bob Super Cup by Dynamos and today’s contest is an attempt to secure a meeting with DeMbare and finally claim glory.
Highlanders coach Bongani Mafu is taking CAPS’ visit seriously.
“I do not want to take this match as a pre-season match. It is a competitive Cup game and it matters a lot. It will go on record and 10 years later we might be reminded that we lost or won. Both teams would be displaying the best football we can play,” said Mafu.
Bosso’s new acquisitions Tendai Ngulube, Nqobizitha Masuku, Teenage Hadebe, Obadiah Tarumbwa and teenage forward Thomas Chideu, would be plunging into their first competitive assignment.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for us to sort ourselves and see how far we have gone so far with preparations for the new season,” said Mafu.
“The players have not yet reached the level [but] I think we are almost there. We still want to correct ourselves on positional discipline. I cannot point to any department that it is weak because they all still [need] attention and we just need to do final touches. We will pick up as we go.”
The last meeting between the two sides ended with CAPS pummelling Highlanders 4-0 in a league match at the National Sports Stadium.
Highlanders had beaten CAPS with a similar scoreline in the reverse leg.
CAPS United have a weekend to prove their depth for the 2015 season, with another team taking part in the Zambezi Invitational Cup in Malawi.
Coach Mark Harrison has taken the strongest of his side to Bulawayo with the most players in the group in Malawi likely to be fringe players this season.
Just like Mafu, the Englishman is taking this match as a serious contest.
“I do not think the calibre of this match is different from last week’s game. There is still some competition although it is still pre-season. We have a lot to play for. We are shaping up for the new season and it is also important to win to boost our confidence,” said Harrison.
From last weekend’s Sino-Zim Cement triumph, United paraded players who are likely to feature this season with defender Justice Jangano proving to be steely.
Roderick Mutuma’s high confidence might make CAPS’ day this afternoon.