Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS’ Independence Cup victory over perennial rivals Dynamos could have been the right tonic to calm some restless Bosso fans agitated by their team’s slow start in the Premiership.
Winless in three league games following identical 0-0 scorelines against Black Rhinos and Caps United, and losing 3-1 to Harare City, some hard-to-please Bosso fans took to social media to express their “disgust” at the performance of the team.
They rejected the excuse that the team wasted three weeks of pre-season after players went on strike over non-payment of salaries.
Highlanders’ board chairman Luke Mnkandla pleaded with fans to be patient, saying there is no need to “press panic buttons” as the league is still in its infancy.
“The season has just started and even if we’re to win the championship, we were going to lose some games. There is no need for panic buttons. We can still bounce back and win the championship. I was going to be worried if we were posting a series of bad results in the second round. What is important is to be united and rally behind the team,” said Mnkandla.
He also took time to explain their expectations of the executive committee led by Kenneth Mhlophe, which is reportedly divided. Modern Ngwenya (vice-chairman), secretary-general Israel Moyo, treasurer Donald Ndebele and committee member Wisdom Mabhena complete the Bosso executive committee assigned with the responsibility of guiding the secretariat.
“People must know that executive members are elected and come from different worlds and are not necessarily friends. What these individuals do outside Highlanders’ time doesn’t matter because we want them to deliver and work harmoniously for the good of the club. As a board, we will not allow anything to destabilise the operations of the club because from the look of things, the future looks bright and we need to support and be patient with those in charge of the club,” said Mnkandla.
This afternoon Highlanders take on Triangle United at Barbourfields Stadium, with all club organs, management, technical team, players and supporters hoping that they can build from the Independence Cup victory.
Bosso head coach Madinda Ndlovu was frank in his opinion of players’ fitness levels after the DeMbare Independence Cup victory, saying they are yet to be fully fit.
He, however, believes the victory over Dynamos was good for the players’ confidence.
“Thinking in terms of analysing our players, I think we’re not where we want to be in terms of fitness levels. We still have to work hard and try to make sure that our players can enjoy the type of football that we played today; that passing game, which is our trend of football. If they are really fit to the level we want them to be, then we can enjoy more than what we saw today,” said Ndlovu.
Bosso got their goals from Bukhosi Sibanda, who was making his debut, and Tinashe Makanda.
In today’s encounter, Highlanders are likely to welcome back striker Peter Nyirenda and Prince Dube, who missed the Independence Cup due to injuries.
Triangle are tricky customers for Highlanders and they have to be tactically upright to avoid their first defeat at home.
Meanwhile, Dynamos will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they host Herentals at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon.
DeMbare are smarting from three consecutive defeats; two in the league to Hwange and Chicken Inn, and the cup encounter against Highlanders.
At Gibbo Stadium, league debutants Manica Diamonds and Mushowani Stars face off in what could be an interesting game. Manica Diamonds blew away a 2-0 lead at the same venue last weekend to draw 2-2 with Triangle United, while Mushowani gave defending champions FC Platinum a scare in a 2-2 draw.
Today: Dynamos v Herentals (Rufaro), Manica Diamond v Mushowani Stars (Gibbo), Highlanders v Triangle United (Barbourfields)