BY FORTUNE MBELE
Crisis-stricken Highlanders will be praying that striker Prince Dube can take his form for the Warriors to club football as the Bulawayo giants continue their battle to steer clear of the relegation zone when they clash with resurgent Bulawayo Chiefs in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields Stadium today.
Bosso sit just two points above the relegation zone and have had the worst record over the last five matches in the top division.
Their main problem has been the failure to put away chances, yet in their ranks, they have one of the most talented strikers in the top-tier in Dube, who leads the attack line for the locally-based Warriors.
Dube notched up another brace for the Warriors on Sunday when they defeated Lesotho 3-1 at the National Sports Stadium and they will be praying he can reproduce that form in his club’s black and white colours.
Bosso have scored the fewest goals in the top division this season with just 13 strikes and even bottom-placed Yadah, who have just four wins the entire season, have more goals with 17 to their name.
The Mandla Mpofu-coached side last won a league match when they beat Black Rhinos 1-0 on August 10.
And with teams below them starting to get better results, particularly TelOne, Bosso can ill-afford to continue looking over their shoulders.
This afternoon, they face a Bulawayo Chiefs side that has only lost once in their last five matches, with two wins and two draws, posing a great threat to the giants’ ambitions.
Mpofu is cautious of Bulawayo Chiefs as the two relegation-fighting sides clash in a re-arranged league match at Barbourfields Stadium.
The Bulawayo giants are away at BF today and last won a match when they beat Black Rhinos at the same venue early last month and the team leadership are bringing in Dutchman Hendrik Pieter de Jongh to try and save the team from the chop.
They perch in an unfamiliar position 13 on the log table with 12 games to go to end of the season and have only won one away match this year, beating TelOne at Barbourfields Stadium before Ascot Stadium in Gweru was cleared.
Mpofu, who will soon make way for De Jongh, admits that his team faces a bruising battle for spoils against the resurgent Chiefs.
“It’s not going to be an easy game. It’s a derby. We are playing a team that you can take lightly at your own peril. We lost one game and beat them in the other last year,” he said.
“It’s a team that is fighting to avoid relegation just like us. It’s a must-win for both sides. Derbies are always a problem, but at this point in time, we really need those points desperately.”
The Bulawayo giants also welcome back Cleopas Kapupurika from injury.
Bulawayo Chiefs sit on position 17 with 21 points and they can lift themselves to within a point of Bosso with a win today.
The stakes are very high as it pits teams that sit low on the table and Chiefs coach Thulani Sibanda also admits it will not be easy against Highlanders.
“It will be a tough match, especially when you look at where Highlanders is on the log table. Both teams are not in a good position, but we will try our best. It is a local derby and you never know how the boys will handle it,” he said.
“Highlanders have seasoned players who can carry the day for them. Our second half of the season has been decent, but the kind of opponents you are playing comes into effect. We haven’t reached our optimum performance yet.”