BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS coach Mandla Mpofu says he has shifted focus to the 2021/22 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League after his side was bundled out of the Chibuku Super Cup tournament by FC Platinum on Saturday.
The Bulawayo giants lost 1-0 to FC Platinum in the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup at Baobab Stadium and despite the defeat, Mpofu said he picked up a lot of positives from the game going into the league, which starts on Saturday.
FC Platinum teenager Panashe Mutimbanyoka’s goal just after the breather helped Norman Mapeza’s side dump Highlanders.
Highlanders kick off the league with an away game to army side Black Rhinos.
“It was always going to be tough against FC Platinum. They are a tough side, but it was a very good match and I picked up a lot of positives from the game. We created a number of good opportunities and FC Platinum got their chance and they buried it,” Mpofu said.
“But overall, I am happy. It was just a lapse of concentration that killed our game, but otherwise based on what transpired in the match, we are ready for the league.
“I am happy the Chibuku Super Cup presented preparatory games to fine-tune our squad for the league and now we focus on that.”
On his central defender Andrew Mbeba who collided with FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari, Mpofu said the injury did not look serious.
“The doctors managed the injury and he (Mbeba) was not hospitalised.
He looks stable and he is ready for the league match at the weekend,” he said.
One of his central defenders, Andrew Tandi was injured at the onset of the Chibuku Super Cup at the beginning of the year and is still out, but he has started light training.
After their match against Black Rhinos at the weekend, Highlanders will be back home to take on Ngezi Platinum, who are buoyed by their progression to the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup after beating Chicken Inn at Baobab on Saturday morning.
Highlanders’ third game pits them against Manica Diamonds away before they host Premiership returnees WhaWha and then play neighbours Bulawayo City away, but probably at their home ground Barbourfields Stadium.
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