IF there is one venue that Highlanders dread playing at this season, then its Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Having made it a no-go area in the last few seasons, and even more during their all-conquering eras of 1998-2002 and later in 2006, they have lost two consecutive matches at home, by the same scoreline to Chapungu and Caps United.
But following their 3-0 hammering of Flame Lily at Lafarge in Harare on Wednesday, Highlanders hope their boys have gathered enough confidence to beat Harare City at the same venue tomorrow and even better results going forward.
After City, Bosso clash with log leaders Chicken Inn in the second Bulawayo derby also to be played at BF.
Highlanders’ fans have been disappointed with their team’s loss to Chapungu and Caps United at BF and only winning against Tsholotsho (home), Dongo Sawmills and Flame Lily (both away), arguing they are teams coming from the lower division.
“What matters is we have beat teams that are in the PSL,” assistant coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu said at a Press conference on Thursday afternoon.
“There is light going forward. It’s still early days. I foresee us getting better and better especially when we get three points on Sunday (tomorrow against Harare City). We have been struggling to get goals, but our strikers Thomas (Chideu), Oba (Obadiah Tarumbwa) and Gabriel (Nyoni) scored yesterday (Wednesday). We are ready for Harare City. I know they (Harare City) have managed to assemble a good team,” Mpofu said.
“We have to psyche up the youngsters. I know our people might not be patient, but we talked about it yesterday (Wednesday) after seeing the hunger and the passing game and we were saying: Why can’t we do that at BF? The Highlanders family wants their team to win. We are working around the clock to please those people. If we win on Sunday (tomorrow) and the next game, the same people will go home singing,” Mpofu said.
He said they were working on the players’ confidence which they lose every time they concede a goal.
Midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku was injured on Wednesday, while Tarumbwa also limped towards the end of the game.
Veteran Mthulisi Maphosa, who has been hailed as the youngsters’ motivator, has started training together with defender Douglas Sibanda. Teenage Hadebe missed Wednesday’s match as he was not feeling well.
Harare City are looking for their first away win tomorrow against Highlanders at BF. They are also beaming with confidence after beating ZPC Kariba 2-1 at Rufaro Stadium on Wednesday.
Assistant coach Mkhuphali Masuku, a former Bosso player and coach, said they were expecting a difficult game against Bosso.
“It is difficult to play a team that has not been doing well, but have confidence after winning yesterday (Wednesday) and we have to win on the road. We have won any game away and we are looking for a win on Sunday (tomorrow),” Masuku said.
He said they were happy that the injured pair of Martin Vengesayi and Francesco Zekumbawira were back.
Harare City also have the likes of William Manondo and young Tinotenda Kadewere who scored against ZPC Kariba on Wednesday.
Also at City are Talent Chawapiwa, Honey Chimutimunzeve, Tendai Samanja, James Jam, Chrispen Dickson and experienced goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube.
Meanwhile, Hwange host fellow strugglers Flame Lily at the Colliery tomorrow, still searching for their first win in eight matches.