It’s derby time in the City of Kings tomorrow as high-riding Highlanders host Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium, as they seek to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
Both teams will be missing key players — Herbert Dick for Chicken Inn and Eric Mudzingwa for Highlanders due to suspensions, but the two camps are geared for a tough encounter.
Highlanders have amassed 22 points from eight games, winning seven and drawing once while Chicken Inn woke up from a three-match losing streak to beat Black Mambas 1-0 at Luveve Stadium a fortnight ago.
What makes the fixture even more exciting is the fact that both teams are coached by former Highlanders players, Kevin Kaindu and Adam Ndlovu, now at the helm of Chicken Inn.
“Chicken Inn are a very good side and every team wants to win a local derby. Chicken Inn were at the top of the log table for some time and we respect them. I cannot comment on whether we will get the maximum points this time, but all I can say is we expect a good game,” said Kaindu.
On the absence of Mudzingwa, he said: “Mudzingwa has been the pillar of strength in the heart of defence, but we have cover for him, as we also have other players in the team. We are urging all our supporters to come and rally behind the team,” said the Zambian gaffer.
Chicken Inn assistant coach Mandla Mpofu said the Gamecox were ready for the derby.
“We are well prepared for the game against Highlanders, we go into the match as underdogs, but we are read. Highlanders have been playing well and derbies are always exciting. We are looking forward to a good game,” said Mpofu.
“Anything can happen as our players are motivated to play against Highlanders. We have played without Dick before, so we have enough cover.”
Chicken Inn had started the season on a good note and were at the top of the log table in the opening stages before taking a slump and are now on position six with 14 points in nine games.
Bosso beat Shabanie Mine 2-0 at Maglas Stadium while Chicken Inn collected maximum points winning 1-0, courtesy of a Tendai Ndoro strike a fortnight ago against Black Mambas.
FC Platinum will miss head coach Rahman Gumbo when they engage struggling Quelaton at Mandava Stadium today.
Gumbo is in Mozambique with the Warriors for a World Cup qualifier and his assistant Tendai Chikuni will be in charge.
Platinum are fourth on then log with 15 points and a win will edge them closer to the top three if Buffaloes do not beat Gunners in Mutare tomorrow.
The Zvishavane-based team are expected to make light work of struggling Quelaton and have some of the best talent in the land. Ali Sadiki, Allen Gahadzikwa, Qadr Amini, Charles Sibanda, Joel Ngodzo and Tafadzwa Dube are some of the players at, probably, the most professionally-run club in the country.
Another exciting tie is expected at the Colliery Stadium tomorrow when Hwange host Shabanie Mine. The coal miners will miss striker Rodwell Chinyengetere who travelled with the Warriors to Mozambique. But they have young Francisco Zvikumbawire, who has been in sterling from this season and has even received a national team call-up.
Today in Harare, Black Mambas have a date with former champions Motor Action at Morris Depot.
Hardbody welcome Caps United to Ascot while Monomotapa host newly-renamed WWS Rangers at Rufaro.