Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE country’s soccer powerhouses Dynamos and Highlanders might not be in the championship race but their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow is a potential thriller.
It is a clash where bragging rights are at stake and as such both teams want nothing but a win.
That the encounter doesn’t have an effect on the title race doesn’t take away the glamour and excitement that the fixture generates.
Bulawayo giants Highlanders head into the encounter bubbling with confidence and hoping to continue with their found dominance over their nemesis who last beat them on 28 June, 2015. Dembare controversially won the match 3-2 after Edmore Muzanenhamo’s equaliser was ruled offside.
DeMbare had a “boardroom” win in 2017 when they were awarded the match on a 3-0 score line for the abandoned fixture at Barbourfields. Referee of the day Munyaradzi Majoni had to call off the encounter after missiles rained onto the pitch from the Empankweni stand where the Bosso fans were following a Dynamos equaliser by Cameroonian striker Christian Epoupa from what appeared to be an offside position. Only 42 minutes of that encounter were played.
Heading into tomorrow’s game, Highlanders have won all their last three games.
It is this dominance that Highlanders would want to maintain against Dynamos who have so far had a forgetful run.
It is Dynamos’ seven consecutive drawing streak that Highlanders coach Hendrik Pieter De Jongh feels makes DeMbare a tricky customer.
During the same period, Highlanders had four wins and three draws.
“I know what it is on Sunday, it’s a big match. It is typical of the clash between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards of Kenya. It’s not any easy game playing Dynamos, but we have good spirit, we’re going the right direction because we want to finish at a good position. What we have in mind is three points,” said De Jongh.
Highlanders will be without their top marksman Prince Dube who is serving suspension. Dube missed Bosso’s 3-1 midweek victory against Yadah on Wednesday.
Left back Mbongeni Ndlovu, winger Godfrey Makaruse and striker Tinashe Makanda were on target for Bosso. Former Highlanders striker Ralph Matema scored for Yadah.
It is unlikely that Highlanders will change the squad that beat Yadah as they had yesterday to do recovery training and this morning they are travelling to Harare. Under De Jongh, Highlanders have found a new lease of life with players giving breathtaking performances.
Goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, defenders Peter Muduhwa who is the heartbeat of the backline, McClive Phiri, Ndlovu and young Andrew Mbeba, midfielders Nqobizitha Masuku, Brian Banda, Adrian Silla and Denzel Khumalo are expected to be part of the team’s lineup in Harare.
Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya issued an apology to the club’s fans as he acknowledged shortchanging their supporters.
The fading giants have recorded their highest number of draws in over a decade following a 15th draw of the season in a 1-1 draw against Manica Diamonds on Wednesday.
Highlanders should therefore be wary of Dynamos who want to end the winless streak.