BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS will seek to gain momentum when they clash with bogey side Bulawayo Chiefs as they clash in the Chibuku Super Cup at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
Bulawayo City clash with Chicken Inn this morning at the same venue, which will be the first match of Group 2, in the round-robin stage of this year’s Chibuku Super Cup, which has changed format.
Despite missing six key players, Bosso are ready to defend the trophy title and pick up the US$75 000 cheque after earning
$225 000 in 2019 when they beat Ngezi Platinum Stars 1-0 in the final at Barbourfields Stadium.
Highlanders coach Mandla Mpofu said he was aware of the threat posed by Chiefs, but what he wanted was to progress to the next stage of the competition.
“In our first week of preparation, we were to face Dynamos in the Independence Trophy. After that, I think we have made good strides in terms of preparation. We have assembled a team that really wants to compete. Not much in terms of playing as many friendlies as I would have wanted as a coach, but so far I am happy. There were a lot of positives from our friendly game against FC Platinum. There is very good progress,” he said.
“About Bulawayo Chiefs, derbies are not easy, but we have prepared well for this game and this competition. It’s not going to be a walk in the park. We know they have beaten us before, but considering the composition of our team, we really need to win our games and progress to the next stage.”
The Bulawayo giants have six players Joel Ngodzo, Winston Mhango, Peter Muduhwa, Keith Mavunga, Rodi Sibanda and Lynoth Chikuhwa not registered for this tournament.
Bulawayo Chiefs coach Thulani Sibanda has also said he cannot rate his team for now as he has not played friendly matches.
“Local derbies are anybody’s game, they are unpredictable. We did not play any friendlies and for us to say we know the strength of our team, I’ll be lying. Maybe Highlanders are in a position to say how they feel about their team because they played Dynamos in the Independence Trophy final and a friendly match against FC Platinum. For us, it’s using the first games to test the strength of our boys,” Sibanda said.
Players to look out for at Chiefs include Farau Matare and Arthur Musiyiwa, among others.
Meanwhile, Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas also says it is early days yet to make predictions.
“We are happy to start football after a long lay-off and we are looking forward to doing well in the Chibuku Super Cup. It’s early days with no much to write home about,” he said. “Teams are still undercooked because we have not been able to play friendlies. We will have to test the boys with these opening matches. The boys are raring to go.”
Chicken Inn have one of the strongest sides in the group, with players like Obriel Chirinda, Malvin Gaki, George Majika, Brett Amidu, Michael Charamba.
Bulawayo City, promoted to the Premier Soccer League after winning the Zifa Southern Region Division One title in 2019, also have some experienced players in Eddie Nkulungo, Dominic Mukandi, Wellington Kamudyariwa, Wisdom Mutasa, Mgcini Sibanda and Douglas Sibanda.
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