Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS are hoping to continue with their fine run when they take on unpredictable Midlands based side, Shabanie Mine, who became the first team this season to put a dent on Ngezi Platinum by denying them a sixth straight win last weekend.
The two mining sides drew 1-1 at Maglas Stadium, a match that saw Madamburo as Ngezi are known, losing their top position on the table to FC Platinum.
While Shabanie Mine are no longer the same potent force that they were during the days of Francis Chandida, Asani Juma and the late Thomas Makwasha, Bosso coach Madinda Ndlovu still believes it will be suicidal to take the asbestos miners lightly.
“We must handle them with care,” says Ndlovu who continues to defy the odds with his ECD kids that has seen them go for an incredible 540 minutes without a loss, one of the only three sides in the 18 team league with such a fine record so far.
The other two teams, FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum’s good performance could be attributed to the fact that they got the best players on the market.
A few therefore gave Highlanders a chance but the youngsters have managed to stand their own.
Ndlovu says while they have respect for Shabanie Mine, they are fully focused and are looking forward to a good game.
“Shabanie Mine are a good team. If you look at the results that they have managed to post on the road, they went away to Dynamos and picked a point (coming from 3-0 down) and they held Ngezi Platinum so they are not a bad side. We have to treat them with a lot of care. Yes, we will entertain them like any other team but kungavuleka nje kuphela izasukuma iSoweto,” said Ndlovu.
Nicknamed Chinda Boys, Shabanie Mine’s last duel against Bosso at Barbourfields Stadium is still very vivid in the home team’s supporters’ minds as they managed to pull a 1-0 win to leave Bulawayo stunned.
“It may have happened but remember no team this season has managed to get three points from us, the story is very clear, that’s how serious we are in terms of our project. In as much as we would want to respect teams that play against us, we also have a mandate which is to see our project run and succeed,” said Ndlovu.
His defence has to contain the league’s leading goalscorer with four goals to his name, David Temwanjira who has scored half of Shabanie Mine’s eight goals so far.
The defence of captain Honest Moyo, roving right back McClive Phiri, confident Peter Muduhwa and promising youngster Charlton Siamalonga should be eyes-on throughout the encounter as they give cover to the last line of defence, Ariel Sibanda.
Set to sit it out due to suspension is holding midfielder Adrian Silla who will be replaced by imposing Ben Musaka. Musaka though needs to control his temper especially towards match officials.
Dribbling duo of Nigel Makumbe and Godfrey “Baba Jukwa” Makarutse as well as inform Brian “BB” Banda and Gabriel “Granvia” Nyoni will complete the midfield brigade that will be expected to supply clean balls to the target man Ozias Zibande who is yet to hit the target at Barbourfields Stadium despite being the second leading goalscorer in the league with three goals.
Today: Harare City v Black Rhinos (Rufaro) ZPC Kariba v Chicken Inn (Nyamhunga Stadium, Bulawayo City v Triangle United (Barbourfields), Yadah v Nichrut (NSS), Ngezi Platinum v Mutare City Rovers (Baobab), Bulawayo Chiefs v FC Platinum (Luveve)
Tomorrow: Caps United v Dynamos (NSS), Highlanders v Shabanie Mine (Barbourfields), Chapungu v Herentals (Ascot).