Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BENJANI Mwaruwari marks his 10th game as Ngezi Platinum Stars’ head coach and hopes to mark it with a win over his boyhood outfit Highlanders at Baobab Stadium tomorrow.
The former Manchester City forward is chasing a top four finish and beating Bosso will be a dream for him.
Ngezi are sixth on the league table with 28 points, while Highlanders are two places below and just two points behind.
Mwaruwari is hunting for his fourth win since replacing Rodwell Dhlakama in March.
He started his coaching career with a 1-1 stalemate against Bulawayo Chiefs, followed by a goalless draw with Dynamos before registering his first win (1-0) at Nyamhunga Stadium against ZPC Kariba.
His next victory was a 4-0 thumping of Tenax and last week’s 3-0 dismissal of Bulawayo City.
Mwaruwari faces Highlanders, who are still trying to find their feet under new coach Baltermar Brito following an indifferent first-half of the season during which they struggled to get out of the bottom-half of the league table.
The two coaches spied on each other’s games that were played at Barbourfields Stadium last weekend.
While appreciating the “little” knowledge they have on Highlanders, Mwaruwari says his charges are fired up for the game.
“We watched them play against Black Rhinos, but have been working on our own game plan. The good thing about this fixture is that it comes at a time when my boys are charged up, their confidence levels are high and they have been really working hard at training. The guys are giving their best to be selected for the starting team and I’m confident whoever makes it will deliver.
“For us to achieve our top four target, we need to keep on posting positive results and that can only be achieved if we work hard and keep improving each week,” said Mwaruwari.
Ngezi will bank on experienced defender Polite Moyo to lead the back line, with veteran Carlos Mavhurume, Leslie Kashitigu, a product of their development side, and Ariel Makope.
Former national team captain Denver Mukamba, Valentine Kadonzvo, Marvelous Mukumba and Bruno Mtigo are likely to form the midfield that will create scoring chances for strikers Delic Murimba and Walter Vuwa.
For Highlanders, Brito is unlikely to change his new-look back four made up of the central pair of Peter Muduhwa and Mbongeni Ndlovu, as well as newly converted wingbacks Rahman Kutsanzira and Godfrey Makaruse.
Makaruse put up a man-of-the-match performance in the win against Rhinos.
Nqobizitha Masuku, Devine Mhindirira, Ray Lunga and either Muziwakhe Dhlamini or Joel Ngodzo will form the midfield, while last weekend’s scorers Stanley Ngala and Lynoth Chikuhwa lead the attack.
Brito said his charges are catching up to his style, adding that while they are looking forward to a tricky game, Ngezi should expect a good run.
“We know we will face a tough opponent, a team that likes to play and they are aggressive with or without the ball. They defend well as a block, attack well and have a style to build-up. It will be a hard game for us, but we have our tools. They are in a better position than us; they have more goals than us, have conceded less goals than us, so these details give you a little summary that it will be a difficult game.
“It will not be an easy game for them as well because we’re going there for a win. They will face a team that is motivated. We need to respect them and they need to respect us because we’re Highlanders and are going there for a win,” Brito said.
In other matches scheduled for tomorrow, Dynamos will be hoping to bounce back from last week’s shock 1-0 loss to Yadah when they face Triangle United at the National Sports Stadium.
Bulawayo City, who blamed a stomach bug in their camp for the 3-0 defeat by Ngezi, travel to Mutare for a date with Manica Diamonds, while Whawha and Tenax square off in a Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service derby at Ascot Stadium in Gweru.
Matchday 19 fixtures
Today: ZPC Kariba vs Yadah (Nyamhunga, 1pm), Black Rhinos vs Herentals (Vengere), Harare City vs Caps United (National Sports Stadium), Chicken Inn vs FC Platinum (Luveve Stadium)
Tomorrow: Ngezi Platinum Stars vs Highlanders (Baobab), Dynamos vs Triangle United (National Sports Stadium), Bulawayo Chiefs vs Cranborne Bullets (Luveve), Manica Diamonds vs Bulawayo City (Sakubva), Whawha vs Tenax CS FC (Ascot)