BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS are still concerned with the fitness levels of their players following the industrial action that rocked their camp in pre-season, ahead of the blockbuster Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match against Caps United at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
Despite a clean bill of health, except for Bukhosi Sibanda who, is recovering from an arm fracture, technical manager Bekithemba Ndlovu said his charges were not yet fully fit for the league campaign after going on strike for nearly three weeks in pre-season.
“The level of fitness in our players is still down. We are not where we want to be, but we are working on it and the boys are improving week in, week out and game by game. It’s going to be a process for them get to 90% or 100% fit,” he said.
Ndlovu is, however, expecting an upset tomorrow, urging fans from either side to come in their numbers for the big game.
“The fans must come in their numbers to support us. We need them to fill the stadium and support from the outset to the end. We promise to play with our whole hearts and we will fight to the bitter end to get a good result; a win,” he said.
“Caps United are a big team, but we are going all out for a win. Caps fans will also be there supporting their team but I urge ours to be a gear up as they always are.”
History has it that Caps United have not beaten Highlanders in a league game at Barbourfields since the Bulawayo giants last won their league title in 2006.
Highlanders have dominated the Green Machine at BF in the past and last year, the two sides played a goalless draw and it remains to be seen if the status quo would prevail tomorrow.
Prince Dube is likely to start tomorrow ahead of Cleapas Kapupurika, whom he replaced last Saturday in the 1-1 draw against Black Rhinos at the National Sports Stadium.
Zambian striker Peter Nyirenda, new signing Mbekezeli Sibanda and Denzel Khumalo are other players to watch in the Highlanders side.
Caps United troop to Bulawayo on the backdrop of 2-0 win in their first game against Manica Diamonds at the National Sports Stadium last Sunday.
They will parade former Highlanders’ forwards Gabriel Nyoni and Newman Sianchali, who both had a good outing against Manica Diamonds.
Another Highlanders son at the Green Machine is Joel Ngodzo, who has picked up his game from last year.
Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe also believes his boys have the capacity to win against Highlanders despite the recent poor history.
“We are expecting a difficult game. It has been difficult for us playing them at Barbourfields, but we have got the capacity and belief to go there and make them feel our game. We are ready to face them,” he said.