Bosso Ariel blow…Highlanders to face Caps United without skipper
Fungai Muderere , [email protected]
HIGHLANDERS FC are most likely to be without injured star goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda for the first time this season when they meet struggling CAPS United in a Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final tie to be played at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Sibanda, who had put no foot wrong for Bosso for the greater part of the season until he saw his form take a nose dive, picked a knock when the Bulawayo football giants fell 1-0 at the hands of seemingly resurgent Hwange FC last weekend.
Fondly known as Mangoye or Mdawini to hordes of Bosso followers, the former Warriors goalkeeper had a brilliant start to the season commanding the Bosso ship with so much aplomb.
However, in the recent past weeks, the shotstopper has with his defence leaked as if they are the bottom of the log team. In Bosso’s last five game, the usually dependable former Embakwe High School pupil has conceded seven goals, an obviously worrying development for the success starved Bosso camp.
Sibanda has worn no other jersey except the Highlanders strip and kissed no other club badge except the famous “Siyinqaba” inscribed shield and spear logo.
He boasts of a massive 14 years of service at Bosso, and clinching this year’s Chibuku Super Cup or the Premier Soccer League title might be the ideal development to put icing on the cake on his marvelous football career. It has been long that Bosso faced CAPS United, the country’s former Cup Kings in such a particular contest and they would have needed the presence of their inspirational skipper who is also a good penalty taker and saver.
“Ariel picked up a knock in Hwange but we hope he will be available for selection on Sunday,” said Highlanders communications and marketing officer Nozibelo Maphosa. In Sibanda’s absence, one of his two understudies Raphael Pitisi and Reward Muza is likely to be thrown into the fray.
Interestingly, Pitisi and Muza made the trip to Hwange and it to everyone’s amazement that no one between them was picked to substitute an injured Sibanda who later on conceded a goal that cost them three points. With Highlanders technical manager Baltemar Brito and his assistant Antonio Torress out on Warriors duty in Botswana, Bosso have been fine tuning under the watchful eyes of former club great, Madinda Ndlovu, Joel Luphahla and fitness trainer Abraham Mbayiwa. On Sunday, Amahlolanya will be meeting an inconsistent Makepekepe side that has gone for a nine-game league winless streak.
It has been a worrying development for Lloyd Chitembwe’s men who have Bulawayo bred Joel “Josta” Ngodzo and Kelvin Madzongwe in their fold, players who can naturally help them redeem their lost pride deep inside Bosso’s fortress, Emagumeni.
With Bosso’s Andrew “Tower” Mbeba having being dropped from the Warriors team that made the trip to Botswana yesterday, Highlanders can still field a solid rearguard.
In the absence tough as tick of Peter Muduhwa due to national duty commitments, Mbeba is likely to play in Bosso’s backline alongside evergreen Mbongeni “Mbola” Ndlovu, Archford Faira and Marvelous Chigumira.