Chikwata warn Highlanders

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Premiership log-anchors Zimbabwe Saints have declared war on Highlanders as the two Bulawayo football sides meet in the first round of the $1 million 2011 Mbada Diamonds Cup at the Colliery in Hwange on Saturday.

Chikwata captain Abraham Mbaiwa on Friday said Bosso should not read much into the past and said his charges were more than motivated for “an early Christmas present”.

Zimbabwe Saints lost back-to-back to Highlanders at Barbourfields in the Premiership and last week got a 4-0 rude awakening at the hands of Dynamos, but Mbaiwa is confident Chikwata will turn the tables this afternoon.

“The guys are already motivated because they know what is at stake. We are going for Christmas and this is an early Christmas present for us. They (Highlanders) should not judge us because we are at the bottom of the log. It is anyone’s game. We will be fighting to get to the next stage inasmuch as we are fighting relegation,” Mbaiwa said.

Assistant coach Admore Sibanda, who stands in for Ephraim Chawanda who arrived yesterday from Botswana, said today’s match would be a different game altogether.

Sibanda said his players played well against Dynamos last week but let in three silly goals and he said this time around they were more confident of victory.

“We have prepared well for the match. There is a difference between a cup and a league game. We will be going all the way to win this match. Every dog has its day and tomorrow (Saturday) is our day. It is going to be a tough match though. We are happy with the venue and we hope to play well. We played extremely well against Dynamos last week, but we let them score three easy goals,” Sibanda said.

Chikwata are without midfielders Castro Ndebele and Ngonidzashe Murisa and striker Tapela “Cyclone” Ngwenya due to injury.

They, however, have a strong squad that includes Mbaiwa, Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu, Nkosilathi “Rambo” Dube, Sydney Linyama, John Kapenya, Mlamuli Phakathi and goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya.
Upfront, Chikwata have Chipo “Jack Roller” Tsodzo, Fortune Nyambosi and Joel Nyama.

Highlanders are fresh from losing the BancABC Sup8r Cup to Motor Action in front of the home crowd at Emagumeni and will be out to dismiss Zimbabwe Saints and hope to reach the final of Mbada to pick up their second silverware of the season after the Independence Trophy.

However, representing the country in the 2012 Caf Confederation Cup is out after the Bulawayo giants were suspended from the continental tournament after pulling out after the draw had been conducted in this year’s competition.

Bosso have not been playing very well of late albeit collecting maximum points when they beat Blue Ribbon 1-0 last week at Barbourfields with a solitary goal from Graham Ncube.

Ncube has been in sparkling form for Bosso, especially with his combination with veteran Gift “Thebe” Lunga, who has been coming off the bench.
Highlanders rightback Lawson Nkomo might also be back this afternoon after missing previous matches due to suspension

Captain Gilbert Banda and Innocent Mapuranga have always been confident at the heart of defence while midfielder Louis Matawu, who had also picked up form, seems to be slackening.

Bosso might also be welcoming back Warriors trialist Eric Mudzingwa in the middle of the park with anchorman Simon Munawa, who was pulled out last week during the Blue Ribbon league match.

It has not been easy for head coach Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku, who has recently tried young and skilful Warren Dube and impressive defender Honest Moyo.

Bruce Tshuma might also be back from suspension to take his position at leftback.

Also in the Highlanders ranks are attacking midfielders Rahman Kutsanzira and Bruce Kangwa and forceful striker Vincent Nzombe.