By FORTUNE MBELE
GIANTS Highlanders and Dynamos have pledged to go full-throttle at each other when they clash for the Independence Trophy honours at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo this afternoon.
The trophy has become an invitational contest, now seemingly reserved for the two popular clubs, but the teams are looking to throw everything as if their lives depend on it.
Winners of the competition walk away with $6 million while the losers will get $4,5 million.
Both sides have been in camp in the City of Kings and Queens and were yesterday expected to hold their last training sessions after a road show that took them to high-density suburbs and to the city centre.
Highlanders coach Mandla Mpofu says playing Dynamos was about bragging rights.
“It doesn’t matter what is at stake when you play Dynamos. It is a very big game. We want to make sure that fans come in their numbers and watch Highlanders play good football,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how many goals we will score against Dynamos, even half a goal as long as we beat Dynamos. It means a lot for us, the club and the community at large. As a coach, one has to be successful and these are the opportunities. It’s pride at stake and we need to beat Dynamos at all costs.”
Highlanders will be without the diminutive Ray Lunga, who has been out with an injury for some time, but welcome striker Stanley Ngala and their top goalscorer and vice-captain Nqobizitha Masuku.
The Bosso defence was shaky in their 2-2 draw against Cranborne Bullets at BF last week before Mpofu introduced Andrew Mbeba, who also been on the sidelines due to injury.
Dynamos gaffer Tonderai Ndiraya boasts of a clean bill of health and he says he is ready for the game.
“We are ready. We are supposed to have one training session after the road show. I am not sure if we will because of these activities, but we are almost done and ready,” he said.
“All the players that we brought are fit. We have 21 boys. They are looking forwards to the final. It could be sentimental for them because most of them have not played a cup final before, especially in Dynamos’ colours.”
The player of the moment at Dynamos is the young Bill Antonio, the man to watch for Mpofu and his charges.
DeMbare also have in their ranks the free-scoring Ghanaian Emmanuel Paga, with a strong defence that has captain Partson Jaure and Frank Makarati.
Also in the squad is Trevor Mavhunga, who scored second goal in the 2-0 win against the same opponents for the same trophy at the National Sports Stadium.
The other goal was an own goal by Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa.
Both sides have gone six games without registering a defeat in the league, where Dynamos lead the pack after playing to a goalless draw with Ngezi Platinum Stars.
- Follow Fortune on Twitter @fmbele