Highlanders look for jolt against Chapungu

Madinda Ndlovu

Madinda Ndlovu

Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
HIGHLANDERS hope to continue with winning ways when they meet Chapungu this afternoon at Barboufields Stadium following their slender victory over neighbours, Bulawayo City on Thursday in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

Bosso have recently been struggling to come up with positive results while also finding it difficult to play their “attractive” style of football they kicked off the season with. That brand of football had seen fans thronging Barbourfields.

The Thursday 1-0 win is expected to bring back confidence to the boys in black and white after having registered only one win in the previous five matches.

Highlanders, who are third on the log, kicked off the 2018 football season on the front foot exhibiting some entertaining football with some putting them among championship contenders despite the club declaring they are on a rebuilding exercise.

However, technical manager, Madinda Ndlovu cautioned then that their only aim was to bring back the culture of entertaining football at the club.

Of late the high balls have proved not to be the right tonic for Bosso as they quickly lose aerial tussles.

While Bosso has managed to exhibit a water tight defence it is upfront where the side has failed to come up with goals despite creating chances.

Despite declaring intentions to make BF a fortress, uninspiring play has seen Bosso give their opponents room to play at their home ground, leaving them vulnerable.

Ndlovu said mental weakness among his boys is one of the areas that need some attention.

“This is the first time I’ve come out openly that the first thing that the mental strength of our boys is something that we have to look at. The boys seem to have challenges in terms of their mental strength. This is what I’m discovering right now that mental strength for our boys is slightly lower than what I thought, so we have a lot to do in that regard. But otherwise that’s why we get these jobs to try and identify where the boys need help and I think we have a lot of work to do as a club, as an organisation with the vision we are embarking on,” he said.

Life has not been rosy for Chapungu, who recently appointed Rodwell Dhlakama to the post of head coach after parting ways with Tendai Chikuni.

Coming from a defeat against log leaders, Ngezi Platinum, Dhlakama said it will be a tough task coming up against Highlanders at Barbourfields.

He said their precarious position on the log, position 14, calls on them to have big hearts and hopefully salvage something.

“There is no other way other than working hard for us to get out of the dire straits that we find ourselves in. The players have to work really hard and maybe we can come out with something at Barbourfields but it will not be an easy job,” said Dhlakama.

Chapungu will be missing the services of veteran Philip Marufu, Collen Kwaramba and Michael Chihowa due to injury while Highlanders’ playmaker, Nigel Makumbe is still on the mend together with defender, Tendai Ndlovu and upcoming striker, Thabo Lunga.

Young defender, Mbongeni Ndlovu is also out after sustaining an ankle injury that saw him limping for the better part of the second half against Bulawayo City.

Bosso’s team doctor, Shepard Khumalo said Ndlovu will be out for a while Makumbe is now doing light training and Ndlovu’s persistent groin injury will continue to sideline him.

In another potentially exciting duel across town at Luveve Stadium, Chicken Inn take on FC Platinum in a must win tie for both sides.

FC Platinum would want to keep pace with log leaders Ngezi Platinum and a loss might see the Mhondoro-side running away with the league championship hence the Zvishavane side will be gunning for nothing but victory.

Chicken Inn, who declared their title ambitions, are also eager to keep pace with the leading pack and any slip up would see their dreams of reclaiming the championship go up in smoke.

The Gamecocks, who won the title in 2015, have blown hot and cold as they have won six games so far, drew six and lost one while FC Platinum have 10 wins, two draws and one loss.