BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
It’s still some days away, but the Barbourfields (BF) battle featuring Highlanders and Caps United on Sunday has already caused a buzz both in Bulawayo and other parts of the country.
It has generated so much hype among fans and players alike, which has given pointers to a potentially feisty encounter.
BF will certainly be bouncing to the Bosso beat in the stands as well as the colourful Makepekepe choir.
There are so many sub-plots about this match, which has seen it hog all the limelight ahead of Week 2 in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
Prominent among the many sub-plots is the return of a former Bosso fans’ heart throb, Gabriel Nyoni, who for the first time will emerge from the away dressing room at Barbourfields.
The two teams are, at this stage, beaming with confidence that this could be their year, which on its own sets up this game for another enthrallingly entertaining contest between the two teams, which would be in keeping with their clashes over the years.
Both teams embarked on a shopping spree and both believe they did the best business and expect nothing short of the title and there couldn’t be any better timing for the two to clash.
Nyoni, one of the speediest forwards in domestic football at the moment, is one of Caps United’s biggest signings, having been signed during the off-season following the expiry of his contract with Highlanders.
He will be eager to prove himself as he returns to BF for the first time since his switch.
With former teammate Newman Sianchali having also joined Makepekepe during the same period to link up with former teammates Joel Ngodzo and Valentine Ndaba, who also joined from Dynamos, it looks more like a Highlanders side than Caps United.
The Green Machine have renewed themselves and after seeing off Manica Diamonds in a season opener at the weekend, an air of optimism has swept through their dressing room.
But here lies the problem. Caps United have been poor at Barbourfields.
They have struggled to beat Highlanders at their BF fortress.
In the last 10 years, The Green Machine have only beat Bosso at Barbourfields on one occassion.
Takudzwa Mahori broke the long-standing jinx with a perfect finish from the edge of the area to see off Bosso 1-0 way back in May 2015.
Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe, however, believes this time around, he has a balanced squad with both youth and experience that can go all the way.
After a disappointing campaign last term, when they finished a distant eighth on the final league table, Chitembwe believes his current squad is better than the previous one in terms of agility and pace.
With the new signings that include winger Phineas Bhamusi, who returned after a successful stint with Triangle, and former Aces Youth Academy and Black Rhinos forward Blessing Sarupinda, Caps United are confident they will replicate the form that saw them win the championship in 2016 before going on to write a glorious piece of history for themselves when they reached the lucrative group stage of the African Champions League.
Highlanders coach Madinda Ndlovu, who has been rebuilding the team, meanwhile, believes his charges are no longer a work-in-progress and has declared he now wants the championship.
His first match, though, got off to a slow start when they were held to a 1-1 draw by army side Black Rhinos.
Bosso will be seeking to recover from that setback.
Social media is already buzzing over this match and it looks like money-wise, there will be bumper returns for Bosso.