AT this stage of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season, the phrase do or die is used frequently and at times even abused.
HENRY MHARA,SPORTS REPORTER
But for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Harare City and Highlanders set for Rufaro Stadium tomorrow afternoon, it fits perfectly.
This is arguably the game of the season — the most important match not only for the two teams involved, but for Dynamos who will no doubt be following the proceedings with so much interest from over 437km away.
A win for Highlanders who are top of the log with 51 points will guarantee them the title if Dynamos lose, while a win for City, who are just a point below, but third on the log table, would move them closer to the Promised Land.
If Bosso lose and Dynamos win, the defending league champions will now have to beat Black Mambas in the last game of the season to retain the title. If the top trio draw, then its down to the last minute of the league next Sunday.
A draw then would most likely benefit second-placed Dynamos (50 points) who themselves would need to get past Tendai Ndoro’s Chicken Inn away in Bulawayo first before they can even think of the results elsewhere.
Looking to capitalise on the big crowd expected at Rufaro Stadium, Harare City has hiked the gate charges from the normal $3 to $5 for the cheapest ticket. The Upper grand stand tickets have been put at $10 and the VIP’s cost $20.
However, this move is likely to backfire considering the match would be broadcast live on SuperSport and some supporters might choose to watch the match from the comfort of their homes.
Nevertheless, with or without the supporters, the battle promises to be fierce. The stakes involved are just too high.
Beyond the three points on offer, a result that would certainly determine whether the trophy goes to Bulawayo or remain in Harare, there is also a little matter that the two teams want to settle.
Harare City will want to win the match to revenge for the Mbada Diamonds Cup semi-final loss at the hands of the same opposition at Mandava Stadium last week.
At the same time, Highlanders is also hard-pressed to win the match and show Harare City who is boss(o)— to show that their recent triumph was not a fluke, but that they can do it anywhere.
Highlanders arrived in Harare without coach Kelvin Kaindu who has yet again left the country for a coaching course in England.
Assistant coach Bekithemba Ndlovu will hold fort for now, having also taken charge of the last match against Motor Action when they drew 1-1 when Kaindu was away.
But the good news in the Highlanders camp is the return into the fold of striker Njabulo Ncube.
The veteran striker is returning after serving his two-match suspension, which saw him missing the 1-1 draw with Motor Action at Rufaro a fortnight ago and the hotly contested 1-0 win over Triangle at home on Wednesday.
For City, they would once again look to their talisman Silas Songani who had a fantastic game when the two sides last met in Zvishavane and was deservedly voted the man-of-the-match.
Songani is blessed with a searing pace and after his exploits in the last encounter in which he also scored a magnificent freekick, Ndlovu will need to come up with a solid solution to neutralise the threat posed by the winger.
The reverse fixture between the two sides at Barbourfields ended in Highlanders’ favour as they won 2-0.