League pacesetters Highlanders and Shabanie Mine go into tomorrow’s Castle Lager Premiership match without key players as the championship race gets exciting with nine matches remaining before the end of the season.
Report by Fortune Mbele
Bosso are without midfielder-turned-defender Bruce Kangwa, who sustained an injury on his right knee during the first round of the Mbada Diamonds Cup against Blue Rangers last week while Shabanie will miss the services of instrumental striker Pervington Zimunya due to suspension.
Apart from Kangwa, Bosso still have to do without right back Bruce Tshuma whom team doctor Xolani Ndlovu said has been doing light training.
However, Ndlovu has allayed fears on the injury scare of central defender Erick Mudzingwa, who scooped the man-of-the-match award against Blue Rangers on Sunday as Bosso welcome back attacking midfielder Masimba Mambare, who has been out for two weeks due to injury.
“Bruce Kangwa is out with a knee injury while Tshuma has been doing light training. Erick and Masimba have recovered and are available for selection. We will have to look at Barca (Bheki Ncube) and Honest Moyo who will have to pass late fitness tests. Honest has not been feeling well,” Ndlovu said.
Head coach Kelvin Kaindu yesterday took note of the injuries, but hastened to say he was not reading much into the last game in which his team beat Shabanie Mine 2-0 on May 23 at Maglas Stadium.
Bosso, unbeaten in 21 matches, edged Shabanie Mine 2-0 at Maglas, their first victory over the Zvishavane side at Maglas Stadium in 11 years, but Kaindu has much respect for the former asbestos miners.
“We know we beat them away in May, but we expect a difficult game on Sunday (tomorrow). Shabanie are enjoying good form and Sunday’s match will be very interesting.
“We have so many injuries, but we are well prepared for the match and to the Bosso fans, they should just concentrate and believe that the team can still do it,” Kaindu said.
The combination of Mambare, Milton and young Ozias Zibande could spell disaster for Shabanie Mine who could be placing their hopes on current top goal scorer Nelson Mazivisa to carry the day for them.
Besides Zimunya, Kaindu’s counterpart at Shabanie, Luke Masomere, said regulars Philip Sithole and Gifford Mchiwa were out with hamstring injuries while former Highlanders striker Tarisai Rukanda would also have to pass a late fitness test.
Masomere said they would be out to get a positive result against Bosso.
“Football is very funny. We might say they beat us at home so we will beat them at BF. They might say they beat us away and they will beat us again, but you never know. We just have to play football in a friendly atmosphere. We have prepared very well, but unfortunately Zimunya is out due to suspension and three other regular players might not make it. We just have to fight to get a positive result against Highlanders,” Masomere said.
Shabanie, on the third spot on the log-standings with 38 points, are chasing hard on second-placed Dynamos with 46 points and have an outstanding game against Hwange awaiting arbitration.
DeMbare, who had displaced Bosso from the top spot after the Zifa Appeals Committee upheld the 4-2 results of a disputed match against Hwange, have an uphill task against Motor Action tomorrow.
Hwange have since sought reprieve from arbitration for the match against Dynamos played in May, where their coaches were assaulted at Rufaro Stadium and the PSL Disciplinary Committee ordered a replay at a neutral venue before the defending champions made a successful appeal.