Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
STRUGGLING Bulawayo soccer giants, Highlanders, take on Herentals after presenting a united front at their Thursday weekly Press conference, something they hope will spur them to their first victory of the season.
The presser was held amid reports of factionalism with some elements in the technical department allegedly conspiring with a group of players to sabotage head coach, Madinda Ndlovu.
Highlanders are winless after seven games.
There have been reports that one of the assistant coaches drew a “special” training programme for midfielder, Denzel Khumalo, “preparing” him for a possible return to first team action without head coach Madinda Ndlovu’s knowledge, raising suspicion that one of the assistants is after the technical manager’s job.
Apart from fighting dressing room cracks, Ndlovu and his charges have to unite and maybe “smack” their opponents who’ve been mocking them ahead of tomorrow’s clash at Barbourfields Stadium.
“Siyeza khonangapho and uMadinda we hope asisoze simxotshise umsebenzi njengoMaBlanyo (We’re coming there and we hope we won’t get Madinda fired like MaBlanyo – former Dynamos coach,” wrote Herentals on their social media page.
Herentals, 12th on the table with seven points, had Lloyd “MaBlanyo” Chigowe fired as Dynamos coach on MatchDay Four after flooring DeMbare 1-0.
With Highlanders struggling to get their act right, the “Students”, as Herentals are known, are angling for a victory against Bosso.
Highlanders, who besides their search for a first set of maximum points, are seeking their first goal at Barbourfields Stadium where they’ve played four games.
They also want to atone for last weekend’s embarrassing 3-0 loss to city rivals, Chicken Inn, which was marred by acts of violence from a section of their supporters.
Bosso coach, Madinda, challenged his players to rise to the occasion and fight their way into the hearts of their fans who have stuck with them through the rough ride by winning.
Ndlovu feels he has done all in his might to turnaround the team’s fortunes.
“We’re navigating a rough patch. It’s now the character of the players we’ve got, whether they’re players that can take a blow, go down, get up again and continue fighting. It’s a matter of pushing and making sure they realise and understand the magnitude of the club.
“There are 27 games to go and so they have to fight. Players should be strong and they should be able to come up and fight,” he said.
While Ndlovu and his charges brace for a tutorial against Herentals, action in the domestic league continues with table anchors Bulawayo Chiefs playing host to Dynamos at Barbourfields this afternoon.
Chiefs, winless like city giants Highlanders, face Dynamos who want to extend their unbeaten run to four games.
Since parting ways with Chigowe and roping in Tonderai Ndiraya, Dynamos have won two consecutive games and drew once.
Chiefs trainer, Thulani Sibanda, whose side lost 1-0 to Black Rhinos on Wednesday, said: “We’re getting there and there’s some improvement from the boys with every passing game. What is important is to believe and who knows, this could be the first game we win. Dynamos are a big side and playing them tends to motivate players. We’re ready for them.”
Defending champions, FC Platinum, who suffered their first defeat of the season to TelOne last weekend, are at home to fourth-placed ZPC Kariba, a side that beat them 2-1 at Mandava last season.
Match Day Eight fixtures
Today: FC Platinum v ZPC Kariba (Mandava), Black Rhinos v Hwange (National Sports Stadium), Harare City v Triangle United (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Dynamos (Barbourfields ), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Yadah (Baobab)
Tomorrow: Manica Diamonds v TelOne (Gibbo), Highlanders v Herentals (Barbourfields), Chapungu v Chicken Inn (Mandava), Caps United v Mushowani Stars (National Sports Stadium)