History, form guide don’t matter. . . as Bosso face Chiefs
Ricky Zililo, [email protected]
DERBIES are always tricky by nature, with present form sometimes meaningless as even the side that has been struggling to get the formula right might come to the party.
A potentially explosive derby is on the cards when giants Highlanders play host to in form Bulawayo Chiefs at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Pressure is mounting at Highlanders who are on a five-match winless spell, drawing all the five games to remain the only unbeaten side in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League after 11 rounds of games.
Bosso, despite collecting just five points from a possible 15 during the period under review, have managed to keep up with the title chasing group, being second on the table with 19 points from 11 games. Highlanders trail leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars by a point.
Two points separate Bulawayo Chiefs who are on position five with Highlanders.
During the period that Baltemar Brito coached Highlanders has played five continuous draws which include three goalless outings against Sheasham, Simba Bhora and Dynamos, as well as identical 1-1 scoreline results with Cranborne Bullets and Greenfuel, their weekend opponents Bulawayo Chiefs have won thrice and drew twice.
Bulawayo Chiefs’ form guide leading to their derby clash against Highlanders saw them winning 2-1 at home against Yadah, 3-0 away victory at Hwange and collected maximum points when they beat Sheasham 2-0 at Luveve Stadium.
The Ninjas drew their last two matches by identical 1-1 scorelines.
What should send shivers to Highlanders as they prepare to face Bulawayo Chiefs is that their opponents whose last defeat was on Matchday 4 when they lost to champions FC Platinum 2-1 in Zvishavane have only failed to score twice this season. They failed to find the back of the net in their second game of the season which they lost 1-0 to ZPC Kariba and the Matchday three 0-0 home draw with Black Rhinos.
Bulawayo Chiefs, coached by Lizwe Sweswe have scored a total 16 goals, which is double the Bosso amount.
Highlanders, with a total of seven draws have failed to score in five outings that have all ended 0-0 against ZPC Kariba, Chicken Inn, Sheasham, Simba Bhora and Dynamos.
But after going through the 2023 season form guide for both teams, it is the side that will have more aggression at goal which will walk away with maximum points.
Highlanders and Chiefs are facing off in the championship for the seventh time since The Ninjas’ promotion in 2018.
Highlanders have won three times and lost twice, with both sides playing to one draw that came in May 2022 when Bulawayo Chiefs surrendered a 2-0 lead to allow Bosso a last minute equaliser through Adrian Silla.
In the first leg of the 2021/22 season, Bulawayo Chiefs took a 30th minute lead through Elvis Moyo who headed in a Billy Veremu cross from the right. They doubled their lead three minutes into the second half through Arthur Musiyiwa who ghosted in from the blind side to connect a Felix Moyo cross from the right.
Silla then struck two beauties from a freekick, including a last-minute strike which saved Bosso an embarrassing defeat.
In their last meeting in October 2022, Divine Mhindirira scored a beauty to give Highlanders a 1-0 win.
Now Bosso face Bulawayo Chiefs without Mhindirira who had a toe operated on last weekend, ruling him out of action for at least two months.
Without his talisman Mhindirira, Brito will look at McKinnon Mushore, Elshamar Farasi and Calvin Chigonero to lead Highlanders’ attack, with Sweswe banking on man-of-the-moment Mthokozisi Msebe, seasoned Danny “Decco” Phiri, Farau Matare and Veremu. — @ZililoR