BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
IT’S the biggest fixture on the local football calendar.
Two of the most successful teams in the country Highlanders and Dynamos clash at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon.
Dynamos are the pacesetters in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League race while today’s hosts are in 11th place, a massive 14 points behind going into the week 15 fixtures this weekend.
It means Dynamos are the team in form.
The Harare giants have won four of their last five matches and are on an impressive run of nine matches unbeaten and have won seven of them.
Highlanders on the other hand have not won in their last five matches where they have managed four draws while the other match was abandoned due to crowd trouble at Mandava last month.
But at the same time history favours Highlanders.
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They are yet to lose in this fixture in the last five matches since the 3 – 0 drubbing on May 14, 2017 and they have since won three of the encounters.
Many would say history does not matter, but it’s important, it’s exactly what makes this match what it is.
As many believe, this match could spell the end of under-fire Highlanders coach Mandla Mpofu’s stint at the club if it ends in defeat despite the fact the club was backing the coach this week in the wake of clamours for his sacking by a sections of the fans as well as journalists.
Mpofu knows exactly what this match means, especially for him.
“A must win for us, a big game for us, for our community. I think we are ready for Dynamos. We all know what it means getting three points from Dynamos. It means a lot and we hope to get those three points and maybe it can be our turning point going forward,” he told journalists.
“When we play Dynamos, history does not make any difference. The most important thing is that the team that will work hard on Sunday will get three points. The team that will make mistakes will be punished.
“My aim is to make sure that we go into that game 100% fit physically and mentally. Dynamos are not an easy team, it’s not an easy game, they are on top because they are playing very well,” he added.
Bosso will be buoyed by the fact that they beat Dynamos in the Uhuru Cup barely a month ago at the same venue and will be looking to replicate that performance
They will however, miss their star from last week Adrian Silla who grabbed a brace in their comeback draw against city rivals Bulawayo chiefs.
While they have been in form so far this season, all is not rosy in the Dynamos camp amid reports of unrest among the players due to unpaid winning bonuses.
And ahead of the biggest match of the half season morale is said to be at its lowest.
Players are reportedly owed over US$1 000 each in winning bonuses from the team’s nine victories and three draws they have recorded in the league so far.
Dynamos players are supposed to be paid US$100 for every win and US$50 for a draw; and under normal circumstances should be promised more ahead of such a match.
As a result of the chaos the club has had to cancel media day which is traditionally held on Thursdays.
Coach Tonderai Ndiraya and teenage star Bill Antonio should be in better spirits after they were announced as the April winners of the coach and player of the month awards on Friday.
But still Bosso can only underrate Dembare at their own peril.