AFTER losing to new boys How Mine on Sunday, Highlanders today embark on yet another tricky assignment when they clash with bogey side Monomotapa in a Premier Soccer League match at Rufaro Stadium in Harare.
Report by Fortune Mbele
Highlanders and Monomotapa have met seven times since 2010 and the Bulawayo giants have only beaten the 2008 league champions two times in the league.
The Harare side has prevailed three times over their opponents with the two teams drawing twice.
In 2010, Bosso and Monoz played a goalless draw in Harare on July 14, before the Bulawayo giants won 1-0 at Barbourfields, courtesy of a goal by Erick Mudzingwa.
The following year it was Monomotapa who had the edge over Highlanders with an identical 1-0 win in Harare on April 2 with Brian Mapfumo on target before the two sides settled for a goalless draw at Emagumeni on November 4.
Last year under current gaffer, Zambian national Kelvin Kaindu, Highlanders thumped Monomotapa 3-0 at Barbourfields with goals coming from Milton Ncube, Peter “Rio” Moyo and Graham Ncube on May 12 when the Harare side was under the guidance of Taurai Mangwiro.
When Bosso seemed headed for the Premiership title, which they last won in 2006, Monomotapa, under Biggie Zuze, halted their unbeaten run in the league on September 29 with a fine hat-trick from Osborne Mukuradare.
And to add salt to injury, Monoz bundled Bosso out of the rich Mbada Diamonds Cup, coming back from behind to beat Highlanders 3-2 at the Colliery on October 21 in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Kaindu yesterday said he was not looking in the past “It is an important game for us. We forget about history and focus on tomorrow’s (today’s) match. We are ready for Monomotapa,” Kaindu said.
Interestingly, since 2010 Highlanders are yet to beat Monomotapa in Harare, but Monoz are no longer as potent after losing several of their key players during off-season to other clubs.
Another blow for Zuze could be the absence of Ronald Chitiyo and Kuda Musharu, who are in camp with the Warriors for the Africa Day friendly match against The Flames of Malawi in Blantyre on Saturday.
Zuze said: “We have done fairly well with the new boys that we have had in first 10 games. I am happy with how we handled the FC Platinum game. The guys have shown a lot of character. I have always said that they needed game time, but they have been so quick to gel. We will be without Chitiyo and Musharu, but I am sure we can soldier on,” Zuze said.
Nelson Meson and Ismael Lawe are available for the Bosso tie this afternoon.
Highlanders could welcome back into their squad Mudzingwa, who has been out of action for quite some time due to injury, and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda because Munyaradzi Diya is with the Warriors.
The visitors will miss Masimba Mambare, also in Malawi, and they will be banking on the likes of Graham Ncube, Njabulo Ncube, Milton Ncube, Cleopas Dube, Bhekimpilo Nyoni, Peter Moyo and enterprising left-back Bruce Kangwa.
Tripple B v Caps United (Gibo Stadium), Highlanders v Monomotapa (Barbourfields)