Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS head coach Pieter de Jongh says he is worried about the recovery of some of his key players ahead of tomorrow’s crucial Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie against ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga Stadium.
De Jongh, who has in the past weeks raised concern about the crammed fixture schedule, has a fresh headache, as some of his key players are set to play against ZPC Kariba without training with the rest of the squad.
MacClive Phiri, Prince Dube, Peter Muduhwa, Nqobizitha Masuku and Ariel Sibanda, who had travelled with the national team to Lesotho for the final Chan qualifier, only flew into Harare yesterday.
The five players will be joined by the rest of the squad today on the way to Kariba saving the players from what would have been over 1 000km of travelling before a game.
The Dutchman said the players are part of his plans for tomorrow, but is worried about their fitness going into the crucial encounter.
“I’m a little surprised that we have to play on Wednesday; it is not good organisation from the PSL. As l said last time, there is no clear fixture. We missed five players who were on national duty and it is difficult to train without those players. In my opinion it’s pretty strange that we now have to go to Kariba on Wednesday when our players just got back and have not recovered,” said de Jongh.
“Of course, the players from the national team are available for selection, although I’m worried about their fitness. But then what has happened has happened. How is it possible that we have to make this trip, why not put the fixture on the weekend? It is not good preparation, we will try and get a good result, we are not making excuses, but this is not good organisation,” he said.
Bosso have never won at ZPC Kariba and the Dutchman is aware of the need to break that jinx.
“It is a difficult place to go to, most teams struggle in Kariba. We could look at some of the results of the teams that have gone there, most of the teams lose. Chicken Inn lost, FC Platinum and Dynamos drew, so it is a very difficult place to go to. It’s not an easy fixture, they have 41 points and we are on 35 points, a difference of six, they are a good side.
“We have been in good form, but the only problem is the five players that have not been with the team. We believe in ourselves, be that as it may, it is a tough game. Hopefully we get a good result so that we improve our position.
“A lot of teams lost points during the weekend so it is important for us to get a positive result. Whether we draw or win those are both good results, but we always play to get a victory. Highlanders have not won in Kariba, but l believe it is time for that to change,” de Jongh said.
ZPC Kariba will be hoping to derail Bosso’s fine form, which has seen the Bulawayo side go on a six-game unbeaten streak. — @innocentskizoe