Madinda Ndlovu, Egyptian coach Mohammed Fathi, Mkhupali Masuku and Kelvin Kaindu have all taken turns in failing to beat Dynamos in league games since 2007.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Since the afternoon of July 30 2006 when Methembe Ndlovu-inspired Highlanders triumphed 2-0 over their bitter rivals at Barbourfields, it has become a nightmare for Bosso whenever they meet Dynamos.
It has now become Bongani Mafu’s turn to try and break the jinx and he leads the Bulawayo giants into Rufaro Stadium this afternoon against Dynamos.
The first league meeting in 2006 between the traditional rivals came in week 14, ironically the same stage of the race this weekend and Highlanders prevailed 1-0 in Harare before completing the double on that July 30 afternoon.
Interestingly, it was David Mandigora who was in charge of the back-to-back defeats in his first stint as Dynamos coach.
But the Dynamos gaffer went on to avoid defeat to Bosso in five more league games.
Now Mafu carries the task of banishing the hoodoo against Dynamos.
Normally before a game of this magnitude, there would be much investment in researching on the opponents but by his own admission, Mafu has not once watched Dynamos in action in the past 18 years.
He has conceded claiming three points will not be easy for his side.
“I have not watched Dynamos play in 18 years,” said Mafu.
“It would be good to beat Dynamos. It is something that I want but we have to work hard for it. But what I know is we are facing a tough assignment. Dynamos are a very strong team and it will not be easy for us. We have been working harder than we had been doing before.
“I know history is against us but sometimes that does not count and I will not let that affect my boys psychological wise. Some of my players have never played against Dynamos. Both teams have equal chances of winning.”
Highlanders go into battle missing the services of suspended chief forward Thomas Chideu who was sent off in their last game against How Mine.
Another striker Gabriel Nyoni is also not available due to injury while, according to Mafu, midfielder Mthulisi Maphosa’s chances of playing are same as not.
“We have a problem upfront because we really needed Thomas and Gabriel. But I believe those available will step in well and do the job,” said Mafu.
Bosso have managed just 13 goals in as many games and the unavailability of Chideu and Nyoni could provide a difficult puzzle for Mafu who now has to largely bank on Obadiah Tarumbwa.
While Mafu is sweating over the absent players, his counterpart Mandigora welcomes back Qadr Amini and Obey Mwerahari from injury, with Simba Nvivi and Cliff Sekete being the only major absentees.
“As usual, playing against Highlanders is difficult,” said Mandigora.
“They really want to beat us because it has been long since they last did that. We cannot look into history much but we take this as a new game and anything can happen. We are working on our weaknesses, especially when it comes to scoring.”
While Highlanders are crying about low goal scoring, Dynamos could be worse after managing just 11 goals in 13 games.