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Bosso go Rhino hunting

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BY FORTUNE MBELE

HIGHLANDERS expect a bruising encounter when they kick off their 2021-22 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League campaign against Black Rhinos at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.

The Bulawayo giants went unbeaten in the Chibuku Super Cup group stages only to be bundled out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by league champions FC Platinum last Saturday at Gibbo Stadium.

Coach Mandla Mpofu declared that the Sakunda Holdings-sponsored Highlanders would target maximum points from the army side, hoping to improve on their away form compared to 2019, where they were poor on the road.

“We have prepared ourselves very well to go out there and compete. We really want to compete. We want to improve ourselves from the 2019 season where we were not good enough in terms of getting maximum points, especially playing away from Bulawayo,” he said.

“We start with the Rhinos game where we want to go out there and come with maximum points.”

Mpofu, however, has lots of respect for his opponents.

“We are not undermining Rhinos. They are a big club and they have been there before. They want to win the league, so it’s not going to be easy,” he said.

“We have to dig even deeper to make sure that we come up with maximum points. I guess the boys are ready and well-motivated for the game.”

Mpofu welcomes back defender Andrew Tandi, who was injured in the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup games.

Tandi is likely to replace Andrew Mbeba, who collided with FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari and suffered a head injury and has been ruled out of today’s tie.

Also back is midfielder Adrian Silla, who has been sidelined by injury.

It will be a tough competition for Silla in the defensive link position, where there is also Nqobizitha Masuku and Winston Mhango.

In attack, Highlanders boast of Joel Ngodzo, Devine Mhindirira and strikers Washington Navaya, Ray Lunga and Lynoth Chikuhwa.

Rhinos, on the other hand, also enjoyed a good run in the Chibuku Super Cup, but their interest ended last week when they were defeated by Dynamos in a quarter-final clash.

They will also be looking for a fast start, especially considering they will be playing at home.

In Herbert Maruwa, they have a seasoned campaign in the technical bench and they will be no push overs.

Also playing this afternoon is Chicken Inn who host new Premiership boys Cranborne Bullets, who start off their top league venture with a game on the road at Luveve Stadium.

  • Follow Fortune on Twitter@fmbele

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