BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS welcome back midfielder Winston Mhango from injury ahead of their clash with FC Platinum in a Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final at Baobab Stadium this afternoon.
Mhango was at FC Platinum for five years before joining Zambian side Kabwe Warriors in 2019 and returned home to link up with Highlanders at the end of last year.
He could not be registered for the Chibuku Super Cup at the beginning of the year as he had not yet been cleared by the Zambian Football Association, but featured for the Bulawayo giants in the last three games of the group stages of the tournament.
He, however, suffered an injury along the way. Today, he is set to meet his former club for the first time since his return from Zambia.
The defensive midfielder is raring to go against FC Platinum after fully recovering from the injury together with utility player Pritchard Mpelele, who also faced international reverse clearance hurdles and missed out on the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup group stages.
“Going into this match, FC Platinum is just like any other team. We respect them, I have played for them and I did what I did for them, but now I am concentrating on my career at Highlanders who are now my employers. I have to do what is best for the team. I have to work hard, but it is not going to be an easy game, I just have to go there and fight with the team,” Mhango said.
He added that he put in a lot of work at the time he was sidelined: “We have been working hard around the clock since the time we were waiting for our ITCs and encouraging the other guys when they were playing the first round of the games, but now that we are back, it’s work in progress. It’s about self-belief. We have a good side, but it’s only a matter of character and if we put in that and a lot of hard work, we can come out with a positive result,” Mhango said.
Coach Mandla Mpofu said he expects more players to recover from injuries.
“Winston (Mhango) and (Pritchard) Mpelele are back in full fitness. They have been training for the past two weeks. Andrew Tandi and Adrian Silla have also started training, but without any contact and we expect them back in the next two weeks or so when they have fully recovered,” Mpofu said.
The other players who missed the first round of the matches include Joel Ngodzo, Keith Mavhunga and Lynoth Chikuhwa, who scored two goals.
Highlanders will also be looking out to Ray Lunga, Washington Navaya and Godfrey Makaruse.
In the other match to be played in the morning, Chicken Inn host Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab Stadium with the platinum miners banking on home advantage to proceed to the semi-finals.
Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas, who has been censured by the league for expressing his disappointment over playing at Baobab, urged his players to up their game in the quarter-finals.
- Follow Fortune on Twitter @fmbele