Highlanders are seeking a double over old enemies Zimbabwe Saints to illuminate their title hopes when the two teams clash in the second Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Bulawayo derby at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
The Bulawayo football giants thumped Zimbabwe Saints 3-0 in the first half of the season with goals from former Chikwata midfielder Simon Munawa, defender Lawson Nkomo and ex-Caps United striker Vincent Nzombe in a match that had generated much hype before kick-off.
Bosso last week beat Hwange 1-0 at the Colliery and a win against Chikwata pushes them to the third spot in the Premiership log standings, two points ahead of Dynamos who are playing a BancABC Sup8r semi-final against reigning league champions Motor Action at Rufaro this afternoon.
However, Chikwata who are fighting relegation — lying at position 12 on the log-table and with a new-look squad — will not be looking to give away the three points to Bosso on a silver platter.
Veteran Chipo Tsodzo, a former Highlanders striker, who has previously played for Chikwata and is back with the Premiership returnees, says they will be giving their all to win the match and stay away from relegation.
“We have new players and it is all about fighting relegation. It is a big game and we will give everything to win the match. We will have no mercy for Highlanders. I have been training as a striker and it’s goals, goals on Sunday,” Tsodzo said.
Zimbabwe Saints’ designate coach and son Ephraim Chawanda, confirmed on Tuesday, will probably watch from the terraces as he had to travel back to Botswana and was expected back yesterday.
His assistant Admore Sibanda will be in charge.
Highlanders’ veteran attacking defender Gift “Thebe” Lunga predicted a tough match saying Chikwata have a new team and will be out to avenge the June 11 3-0 defeat.
“It will be a tough match because Zimbabwe Saints will be trying to revenge the 3-0 loss. We respect Saints, this is a different game and we will try to fight for three points to put pressure on the three teams ahead of us,” Lunga said.
Despite all the hullabaloo about the Bosso-Chauya Chikwata derbies, most former players of the clubs said the local derbies no longer had the yesteryear glamour.
NewsDay Sport caught up with former Chikwata 1970s and 1980s striker Peter Kaviza, who used to give Highlanders’ defenders Douglas Mloyi and Ernest “Mapepa” Sibanda a tough time.
“The tension about the match would build up two weeks before the game and the match would be electric. But these days, the games are not as exciting. There is low attendance. Maybe it is because we no longer have those stars, the Tymon Mabalekas, the Homelas, Max Tshuma and Sugar Muguyo. I still have Zimbabwe Saints at heart,” Kaviza said.
Kaviza was an assistant coach at Zimbabwe Saints until he was relieved of his duties in June last year when they were in Division One.
Former Highlanders dribbling wizard Tanny Banda, who played for Bosso from 1986 to 1989, said it had to do with the quality of players these days.
“It’s no longer the same. During those days you would feel the tension the whole week at training. I do not know what has eaten into these players,” Banda said.
Zimbabwe Saints lost Leo Kurauzvione, Tafadzwa Maingire, Philip Sithole, Peter Muzondo, Abraham Mbaiwa and they have since assembled a new squad which includes Kelvin Sibanda, Dumisani Ndlovu, Tapela “Cyclone” Ngwenya and Sydney Linyama.
They also lost playmaker Ntokozo Tshuma, who was recalled by his paymasters FC Platinum.
Tsodzo, Castro Ndebele, Gift Phiri, Fortune Nyambosi and Joel Nyama, who joined the team at the beginning of the season, are still with Chikwata.
Highlanders’ gaffer, Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku has captain Gilbert Banda, Lunga, Graham Ncube, Rahman Kutsanzira, Nzombe and the fast-improving Lawson Nkomo to bank on in tomorrow’s tie.