BLACK Rhinos have declared war on Highlanders when the two sides clash in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
Highlanders are seeking a winning return after losing their first home league match against Motor Action two weeks ago.
REPORT BY SUKOLUHLE MTHETHWA/EPHRAIM SHOKO
Merciful Ncube’s solitary goal ensured Motor Action maximum points and in the process handed Kelvin Kaindu his first home league defeat since he joined the Bulawayo giants last season.
Highlanders were unlucky not to walk away with maximum points after Dynamos equalised through Partson Jaure in a match where referee Norman Matemera took centre stage at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday, while Black Rhinos drew 2-2 with Motor Action last Saturday.
Veteran Black Rhinos midfielder Lazarus Muhoni said: “We are coming there to get a positive result. In football you can expect any result, but what we want is to fight so that we get maximum points. Matches between Black Rhinos and Highlanders used to be exciting. The match is not going to be easy.”
Black Rhinos captain Brighton Chandisaita also said they were anticipating victory.
“We were playing in Division One last season so our team is mostly comprised of youngsters. They want to prove a point and also want to make their names. Our performance has been good so far. It is going to be a very difficult, but we are expecting a good game.
“We are not there to lose, but to get points. We need to get points now because the second half of the season is going to be tight. We want to avoid a situation where we play in the Premiership one season and then get relegated,” he said.
Bosso captain Innocent Mapuranga, however, is aware of what is at stake in the match.
“We are going into Sunday’s (tomorrow) match with a positive mind and nothing else. We are looking forward to getting a good result. As we walk onto the pitch, we want a win. The past games are now history to us and our focus is on the match against Black Rhinos,” he said.
On Sunday, Highlanders had been thrust ahead by Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube, who said he was ready to face Rhinos.
“I am 30 years old now and I am turning 31 on August 26, so my main aim is to win the championship because time is not on my side. I was very disappointed when we lost to Motor Action. I become very troubled when I do not get the goals. Each game is now like a cup final to me.
“I wish we would play as a team because it should not be about an individual. If I score, it is also because of the support I get from my teammates. If I do not score, I am supposed to shield and supply the balls to the midfielders so that they can also score,” said Tshiki, who has scored three goals this season.
lMeanwhile, FC Platinum have vowed to rise from last week’s defeat and beat Triangle in a Premiership match at Mandava Stadium this afternoon to consolidate their position at the top of the log standings.
FC Platinum suffered a morale-sapping 1-0 defeat to rivals Shabanie Mine last weekend and only a win against Triangle will atone for that loss which will also help them cement their place at the top.
Pure Platinum Play will go into the match without goal poacher Nelson Maziwisa, who is away in Zambia on national duty with the Warriors. Centre-back Kelvin Moyo will also be missing in action as he has been called into the Warriors team that will face Zambia tomorrow.
Platinum assistant coach Tendai Chikuni said they were leaving no stone unturned in their quest to return to winning ways.
“We have put behind the defeat to Shabanie and we are now focusing on the Triangle game. We have been preparing very hard for this match and our preparations have been going on well,” said Chikuni.
“We will be missing Nelson and Kelvin, but I believe we have able replacements who can steer the team to victory tomorrow (today). We have no injury worries except Charles Sibanda, who has a minor knock. We have told the players to put behind the defeat and focus on remaining at the top.”
In the absence of leading goal-scorer Mazivisa, the responsibility to steer the platinum miners will be bestowed on Donald Ngoma, who has been shy in front of goal, and lively winger Ali Sadiki. Platinum’s opponents are also coming from a defeat and would want to put their campaign back on track by upstaging the log leaders in their own backyard.
Triangle coach Gishon Ntini warned Platinum not to read much into their loss to fellow debutants Tripple B last week, saying they would draw inspiration from Shabanie’s win last weekend.
“Platinum should not read much into defeat at home last week, because we are very much capable of upstaging them in their own backyard. We were inspired by the way Shabanie rose from the ashes to defeat the log leaders,” said Ntini.
However, Ntini will, for the second week running, go into a match without some of his key players due to injury. Strikers Limited Chikafa and Tawanda Muyendi are in plaster, while Courage Denias, Muchineripi Muneri and Brian Juwayeyi joined the casualty list at training this week.