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Zimbabwe giants clash

HIGHLANDERS beating Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium courtesy of a solitary Ozias Zibande strike during the Easter holidays was a major endorsement of the Bulawayo giants’ rebuilding project spearheaded by technical manager Madinda Ndlovu.

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

The biggest fixture on the local football calendar returns to Barbourfields this afternoon with the “project” under scrutiny as Bosso have failed to post positive results in recent weeks.

In fact, a defeat to bitter rivals Dynamos could throw the rebuilding exercise into a real crisis for the Highlanders family.

Here is the background.

Bosso have lost five of their last eight league fixtures, three of them at home, casting a shadow of doubt on a project that impressed many in the first half of the season.

Now occupying sixth place on the log standings, Bosso have failed to win a match in their last three outings, recording back-to-back home defeats to Chicken Inn and Ngezi in their last two fixtures.

And after last weekend’s defeat to Ngezi, Ndlovu hinted that the Bosso fans could lose patience with his project and that he was under pressure to stop the rot.

“It is not pleasing for Highlanders to find themselves losing two or three consecutive games at home, but we have to look holistically at the project and see what it is we have set ourselves as goals,” Ndlovu told journalists during his weekly pre-match press conference.

“But I have some kind of excitement looking forward to the weekend’s game. This is not just a game because it has a lot of other issues in it. We are excited to say we have ironed out a number of issues with the players, the board, the executive and the technical team. We are travelling on the right path as an organisation, which is why I am excited,” he said.

Of interest is the fact that Dynamos, although without coach Lloyd Mutasa, who is on national duty, have been enjoying their best form in a difficult campaign.

DeMbare have won four of the last eight matches, losing just once and beating Bulawayo City at Barbourfields last weekend.

The Glamour Boys also did some shrewd business during the transfer window bringing veteran striker Kingstone Nkhatha, Brett Amidu on loan and luring back problem child Denver Mukamba.

However, the struggling Harare giants have failed to beat Bosso in open play in the last six duels.

“We have to take into account that they are somewhere on cloud nine with that boost against Bulawayo City last week and we are probably coming in as underdogs. But games like this inspire everybody and I wouldn’t miss it for anything just to be on that bench to give commands and give direction and lead the team to beat Dynamos.

“I am not asking for anything short of shooting them below the belt on Sunday. We are not prepared to say we shall disappoint our supporters this weekend,” he said.

Ndlovu will be missing the likes of Tafadzwa Sibanda, Tinashe Makanda, and Thabo Lunga, among others on the injury list.

A man of a few words, Dynamos assistant coach Joseph Takaringofa is also keen to carry on the winning momentum for the team in the absence of Mutasa as the Harare giants angle for a strong finish to the season.

“In terms of bragging rights, we should win against Highlanders and if we win it means going forward we will have confidence. It’s a different ball game,” Takaringofa said.
“We have prepared really well. We are going to Bulawayo only to focus on playing good football and may the best team win,” he added.

Captain Marshal Machazane is suspended for DeMbare for this fixture while Nkhatha is set for his debut against Highlanders today.

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