SIMBA Bhora coach Tonderai Ndiraya is juggling an injury nightmare with at least eleven of his key players set to miss the important league clash against Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo tomorrow.
Ndiraya yesterday provided a long list of his players who will miss the trip to Bulawayo due to different reasons.
Talent Chawapiwa, Alex Mandinyenya, Taimon Machope, Blessing Moyo, Keith Murera, Phenias Chigulupati and Abubakar Onifade are all carrying injuries.
Hugh Chikosa and Tafadzwa Jaravani are down with flu while Ronald Chitiyo and Ishmael Nyani are also not on the travelling squad due to family bereavement.
Most of the injured players are starters in Ndiraya's squad as they battle to avoid an immediate drop in their maiden season in the top flight.
The Shamva-based team currently sit on 13th position on the log standings with 20 points, the same number of points with Sheasham who sit on the relegation cut off point. There are 15 rounds of matches left before the season ends.
Ndiraya, however, is wearing a brave face despite having to work with a hugely depleted squad this week.
More depressing for the Simba Bhora fans is that new striker Machope who joined last month and has provided two goals from two matches, is part of the crew down with injuries.
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“We have youngsters who can hold their own,” Ndiraya said.
The team will be looking to bounce back to winning ways after they lost to Chicken Inn 1-0 in their last league match.
It was their second defeat in succession after they had also lost 1-0 to Dynamos in the Chibuku Super Cup first round match a fortnight ago.
“It's not an easy game because Dynamos are doing well of late,” Ndiraya conceded.
“They (Dynamos) have won two games on the bounce and we are coming from a defeat. That put some bit of pressure on us but we are looking forward to getting a good result. We are looking to bounce back after the unfortunate defeat to Chicken Inn last week.
“The team played extremely well. It was one of our best games this season. We conceded very early in the game, in the second minute and that brings to the fore the issue of concentration. We are looking at improving in that area and so many other areas. I was really impressed with the way we played last week and hopefully we can carry that same performance into the game on Sunday.
“The only difference last week was the result which didn't go in our favour but we really put up a very good show so I expect the team to take the same spirit, same mentality into the next game. If we do that I'm so sure that we can get a result."
Ndiraya said his team will be out for revenge following their narrow loss in the Chibuku Super Cup when Simba Bhora finished the match with 10 men.
The reverse league fixture ended in a goalless draw.
“We lost on our last meeting with Dynamos so we would want to atone for that defeat and we are very confident that can do well and get a result that we want for us to move away from where we are on the log table. We want to accumulate as many points as possible before we really get ourselves under serious pressure. It's a game we are looking forward to do well.”
Dynamos, in contrast, are in a good mood following their two wins under stand-in coach Genesis Mangombe who has demanded more consistency from his players.
DeMbare who are on fourth position on the log table, nine points behind log leaders Highlanders with 15 rounds of matches left to play, are yet to win three consecutive matches this season.
“We haven't won three consecutive games this season so the message to the boys has been that that if we want to keep within touching distance with the leading teams, we need make sure we take maximum points... have consistency in winning games,” said Mangombe who was promoted to replace the suspended Herbert Maruwa.
“The players are responding very well to my tactics, and even at training, you can see everyone wants to be in the team, and want to be in the starting lineup. If you are going to challenge for the league you have got to win matches regularly. We need to start doing that.”
Mangombe says the presence of former Dynamos' players in the Simba Bhora camp makes this clash interesting.
At least five players who have played for DeMbare before joined the promoted side at the start of the year.
Ndiraya and chairman Isaiah Mupfurutsa were also with Dynamos last year in similar positions.
“We don't want to dwell much on our previous clash with the team. It was a cup game, and this one is a league clash so it's different. We will change a few things. I want them team to put away the chances that they create. In our last game with them we created a lot of chances but our conversion rate was not perfect. We have been working on that and I'm hopeful that we will get some goals in this one.”
Matchday 20 fixtures
Today: GreenFuel v Hwange (Gibbo), Fc Platinum v Highlanders (Mandava), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Triangle (Baobab), Chicken Inn v Cranborne Bullets (Luveve), Zpc Kariba v Caps United (Nyamhunga), Black Rhinos v Bulawayo Chiefs (Bata).
Tomorrow: Manica Diamonds v Herentals (Gibbo), Yadah v Sheasham (Baobab), Dynamos v Simba Bhora (Barbourfields)