The big match between Dynamos and Highlanders set for Rufaro on Sunday has come when almost every football enthusiast has lost interest in an encounter that in the past held a lot of attention in the country.
Critics say this battle which used to hold the whole nation spellbound has lost its flavour over the years.
Some blame it on the poor quality of players who are now playing for arguably two of the biggest clubs in Zimbabwe.
Others have pointed to the fact that football has generally deteriorated in the country in recent times due to the difficult economic conditions, and the two teams have not been spared.
They reckon days of Moses Chunga, Peter Ndlovu, Agent Sawu — and probably the Honour Gombami era — will never be seen again.
While that argument holds substantial truth and the Sunday match could turn out to be just another match, there is also no doubt the game could be interesting in its own way.
There will be more at stake than three points when the two protagonists go head-to-head.
Its significance to both teams cannot be overemphasised.
Dynamos need to win the match for two crucial reasons.
A win will enable the Harare giants (on 45 points) to keep pace with tear-away log leaders FC Platinum (49 points), but more crucially, to atone for the disappointment they went through after falling to the same opposition in the Uhuru Cup early this year.
“It’s a massive game for us in terms of the history of Zimbabwean soccer and the implications it may have in our chances of winning the title this season.
“A match between Highlanders and Dynamos attracts a lot of interest, but Dynamos have done so well against these big teams and we want to continue with that form,” said Dynamos assistant coach Tonderai Ndiraya.
Ndiraya welcome back into the team goalkeeper Washington Arubi and striker Cuthbert Malajila who were badly missed in last week’s 1-0 defeat away to Masvingo.
Stop-gap goalkeeper Phillip Nhete conceded what has been described as a silly goal from a free-kick at Mucheke while striker Rodreck Mutuma struggled without the help of an experienced Cuthbert Malajila.
“They are vital elements of our team and their absence last week had a huge effect on the team’s general performance. We badly missed them. Their return will be a big boost to the team because we have to win this match after last week’s defeat,” added Ndiraya.
Bosso on the other hand will want to win the match to end a horrible week, with reports of major infighting within the club.
The chaos that followed their match against Shooting Stars last week, when the team bus was reportedly stoned by angry supporters, could be just the tip of the iceberg as far as the internal strife that has gripped the Bulawayo giants.
Also of importance to Bosso is the need to start collecting points now if they are to end the season in a respectable position.
Highlanders, who have collected five points from their last five matches, are fifth on the log with 39 points.
Highlanders captain Gilbert Banda who resumed full training on Tuesday after shrugging off an injury, admitted his team is effectively out of the title race, but promised they would go all-out for a win.
“We might be out of the championship race, but Dynamos are still in the race and that is likely to make the match harder. The spirit in the team is high whenever we play Dynamos. We will give everything that we have for the game and also try to contain the pressure,” he said.