BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS coach Mark Harrison is expecting fireworks when his side clashes with FC Platinum in the Castle Challenge Cup season opener at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The Bulawayo giants have played two friendly matches against Black Rhinos and Chapungu, ahead of the tie against the Zvishavane-based side.
The Castle Challenge Cup pits the league champions FC Platinum and winners of the Chibuku Super Cup, Highlanders.
After his side beat Chapungu in a friendly match at Luveve Stadium on Sunday, Harrison said he was aware he will be playing a strong side, which has gone on overdrive on the market.
“Everybody is up for the game. We are playing against a strong team. They (FC Platinum) have strengthened their squad with a couple of foreign players as well. It is going to be a hell of a game; a massive game. I think it is going to be a (cliffhanger) of a game,” Harrison said.
Among its new acquisitions, FC Platinum brought in Silas Songani, who was plying his trade in Denmark.
They also added Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year first runner-up Ralph Kawondera from Triangle, Last Jesi and Stanley Ngala from Manica Diamonds, Nomore Chinyerere, Donald Dzvinyai, goalkeeper Future Sibanda as well as defender Felly Mulumba and striker Ellie Ilunga from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Highlanders also strengthened their squad by roping in returnee Mkhokheli Dube, who was on target in both their games against Black Rhinos and Chapungu, Michelle Katsvairo and Chris Mverechena.
Collin Mujuru and Humphey Ncube have also joined Highlanders, who expect to sign former Orlando Pirates 19-year-old utility player Rodi Sibanda, who was released by the South African side last year in June, soon.
“We are signing Rodi (Sibanda) from Orlando Pirates. We are definitely signing him and I hope he will push Tinashe (Makanda) and Kelly (Mkhokheli Dube). He will push them hard. He is only 19 and he has got a long way to go. He is a very good talent,” Harrison said.
Sibanda played in the reserve side on Sunday.
Harrison is, however, worried about the fitness of top striker Prince Dube, Mverechena, Katsvairo and Mhindirira ahead of the weekend clash.
FC Platinum coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh watched Highlanders play Chapungu on Sunday.