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Dynamos v Harare City @Rufaro, Sunday, 3pm  | Highlanders v FC Platinum @Barbourfields, Sunday, 3pm


THE top four teams from the last Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) season — Dynamos, Highlanders, Harare City and FC Platinum — have a chance to show their fans the levels of preparedness for the new season, which gets underway next week, when they take part in the Independence Trophy semi-finals tomorrow.
Defending league champions Dynamos — who are also the holders of the trophy — host city rivals Harare City at Rufaro Stadium while Highlanders welcome FC Platinum at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo in the other match.
Winners from the two matches will meet in the final at the National Sports Stadium on April 18.
Gate charges for the matches have been pegged at $3 for the cheapest ticket and $10 for the VIP section.
There is no doubt the coaches will look at this as a good and last chance to fine-tune their squads ahead of the PSL season which kicks-off next weekend.
Dynamos, who will begin their title defence away to How Mine, have been hugely involved in the pre-season having participated in the Caf Champions League and the Bob90 Super Cup, thus should be better equipped in terms of match fitness than the other teams.
However, their preparations for the match have been disturbed due to injuries to key players. Team manager Richard Chihoro yesterday revealed that four players — Murape Murape, Tawanda Muparati, Sydney Linyama and Simba Sithole — would not be involved tomorrow due to injuries.
The injuries will force coach Kalisto Pasuwa to have a look at some of his options like Tafadzwa Rusike and Victor Kamhuka, who have had very little game time since arriving at the club.
In contrast, Harare City say they have no injury worries in the team.The City Fathers are likely to field the former Dynamos duo of Francesco Zekumbawira and Timire Mamvura in the match and it’s obvious the two will want to prove a point after being unceremoniously ditched by the Harare giants. The two are part of the eight players that joined City’s otherwise strong squad for the new season.
The other players who joined City and are likely to be given a run in the match are Arnold Chivheya, Misheck Mburayi, Mhleli Sibanda, Bensen Maglasi, Takudzwa Chimwemwe and Agrippa Murimba.
At Barbourfields, Highlanders will be looking for revenge against a team that they lost to in a friendly match last week.
The home side are fretting over the fitness of some of their regular players. Peter “Rio” Moyo, Erick Mudzingwa, Milton Ncube and Rahman Kutsanzira will all have to pass late fitness tests to play the match.
Bosso will also miss the services of head coach Kevin Kaindu, who is away in England for a coaching course.
In his absence, assistant coach Mark Mathe will hold fort.
“We are expecting a tough match against FC Platinum coming from the 2-0 defeat in the friendly match last week. They put up a strong side and our main worry is that we have a number of injuries in our camp. We are monitoring them to see if they could play on Sunday (tomorrow),” Mathe said.
Ex-FC Platinum players Joel Ngodzo, Welcome Ndiweni, Khumbulani Banda and Charles Sibanda are expected to face their former paymasters.
Bosso’s main problem in recent seasons has been lack of a good striker and they have invited two Zambians who they are assessing for the position.
Jerry Simfukwe and Habbas Jim have been training with the Bulawayo giants and could be given a chance to prove their worth against FC Platinum. The two are free agents and if they impress, Highlanders are free to sign them even after the expiry of the transfer window.
FC Platinum will arrive in Bulawayo with their confidence levels high after last week’s result, but their winless record against Bosso at Barbourfields since their promotion into the league in 2011 should be a big worry.
Coach Lloyd Mutasa has assembled what look like a very competitive side this year and players to watch in the squad are Wisdom Mutasa, Walter Musona, Nelson Mazivisa and Njabulo Ncube — formerly of Highlanders.

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