Former Shabanie Mine player and ex-coach John Phiri yesterday relived the year 2001 when the Midlands team lost to Highlanders 4-1 in the final of the Zifa Unity Cup at Barbourfields Stadium.
This comes ahead of the two teams’ clash in the BancABC Sup8r semi-final at the same venue on Saturday.
In qualifying for the last four, Shabanie beat Gunners 1-0 at Ascot Stadium in Gweru on June 26 through a strike by veteran Lennon Chisunga.
Phiri said he sat on the bench when the Chinda Boys lost to Highlanders in 2001, but he remembers the game vividly.
They drew first blood through Francis Chandida before Bosso came from behind to claim the silverware.
“There was a very big crowd. We scored first through Chandida, but unfortunately we lost 4-1. Shabanie was hot then.
“We had just been promoted into the Premier League after winning the Division One championship. A month later we beat Dynamos 1-0 to lift the BP Cup at the National Sports Stadium,” Phiri said.
Phiri predicted a tough match against Highlanders on Saturday and said he believed Shabanie Mine could still beat the Bulawayo giants with new coach Luke Masomere.
“It is going to be a tough match, but I think they can still push with the new coach.
“But it is going to be a tough match,” Phiri said.
Phiri took the Zvishavane club back to the Premiership as head coach in 2010 before he resigned at the beginning of the season after the club employed Saul Chaminuka.
Amongst the players facing Highlanders on Saturday are Highlanders’ reject Tarisai Rukanda who could torment his former paymasters upfront, anchorman and captain Simon Shoko, Caleb Masocha, Tafadzwa Mombeshora and Jonathan Chitereki.
Impressive goalkeeper Roy Mazingi is also available for the Saturday cup tie.
Masomere is also expected to throw into the fray former Orlando Pirates defender Zvenyika Makonese. Shabanie Mine chairman Webster Chitonho yesterday confirmed they had signed Makonese.
“Save for Makonese that you have heard about, we do not have any new signings. We will do our best come Saturday.
“Looking at our position on the log, we come in as underdogs and Highlanders has always been tricky customer for us at Barbourfields, but we will do our utmost best,” Chitonho said. Shabanie Mine lost 3-0 to Highlanders at Barbourfields, Stadium in their first league match in March under the tutelage of Chaminuka.
Bosso had also thumped the asbestos miners 4-1 in a pre-season friendly match at the same venue in February.