HIGHLANDERS are walking wounded as they take on Chicken Inn in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Bulawayo Derby encounter this afternoon at Barbourfields Stadium with five of their regulars in the sick bay while another is with the Warriors.
BY THANDIWE MOYO
Obadiah Tarumbwa and midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku were used during the Harare City match last Sunday not fully fit and were pulled out in the second half while Simon Munawa and Erick Mudzingwa picked up knocks during the match.
Defender Teenage Hadebe is out injured while Douglas Sibanda has recovered but is with the Warriors on national duty.
Head coach Bongani Mafu said Tarumbwa, Masuku and Munawa were influential players in the team and they would need them for today’s match.
“I’m not so sure of their participation this week. I have given all of them time to recover because they are very influential players that we need this weekend,” he said.
Mafu said the absence of the players was not an excuse not to win the match today but that people should know the status of their players.
“We will see if they are anywhere near playing. We are playing Chicken Inn as you all know, a high-flying team of the moment in terms of form. We approach this game knowing fully well that we have got to perform beyond anything we have done this season to get anywhere near salvaging or getting a point but it is our wish as a team to perform to the best of our ability and get the maximum possible result which is a win which is a tall order I must say,” the under-pressure Bosso gaffer said.
He added: “It’s a derby, it has no formula. You don’t bring anything in a derby. You bring your head, your heart and your body. It’s a local game, local people who meet one another in the supermarkets; we want to see who gets the bragging rights after that. It’s up to the whole technical team and club to be up to that challenge. Is it going to be easy? Trust me it’s going to be a tall order,” he said.
Highlanders skipper Felix Chindungwe is a former Chicken Inn player with Bosso also having Gabriel Nyoni and Thomas Chideu upfront.
Chicken Inn will be without captain Danny “Deco” Phiri who is in South Africa with the Warriors for the Cosafa Cup.
Gamecocks boss Joey Antipas said they had no injuries in their team and said the match would be difficult to predict considering that it is a derby.
“Every game is a big game and we will treat the match against Highlanders as any other. Though this is a local derby and they are difficult to predict. Highlanders have not been playing well but they are getting there,” said Antipas.
The GameCocks have Edmore Chirambadare, Mitchelle Katsvairo, Clemence Matawu, former Highlanders midfielder Bhekimpilo Ncube and Thabani Goredema in their books.