Banda, Mapuranga speak on derby

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FORMER Highlanders Football Club captain Gilbert Banda says he is ready to face his former paymasters when his team How Mine clash with Bosso in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) encounter at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.

Sukoluhle Mthethwa

The Metallon gold-sponsored outfit stunned Highlanders with a 2-1 victory when the two sides met in the first round of the league at Barbourfields Stadium in May. Philani Mabhena, later replaced by his assistant Philani “Beefy” Ncube, was then in charge.

How Mine who will be at home have opted to play Highlanders at Barbourfields instead of their usual ground Luveve in an effort to maximise revenue from gate takings from the derby.

Banda left Highlanders at the end of 2011 to join the Midlands side FC Platinum, but parted ways with the club before joining Zifa Southern Region Division One side Bantu Rovers mid-season last year. He joined How Mine early this year.

Banda yesterday told Southern Eye Sport that he was geared up for Sunday’s match.

“The match is no different from any other league game. I treat it as any other game and to me it is not a grudge match. It is possible for us to beat Highlanders like we did in the first encounter. When I walk onto the pitch my target will be three points,” he said.

Banda said they expect a tough encounter as both teams would try to improve their positions on the log standings.

“Highlanders would want to win the match to pile pressure on log leaders Dynamos and Harare City. But we also want maximum points so that we move up the log table. We want to finish the league in a respectable position,” he said.

Highlanders captain Innocent Mapuranga said they were targeting maximum points.

“It is going to be a very tricky encounter because it is a derby. As Highlanders, we are training very hard in preparation for the game. We want a positive result because we lost the first match. However, Sunday’s match is going to be different because we are gunning for the three points,” he said.

Highlanders are aware of the danger city neighbours could pose as How Mine continue with the giant killer tag after shocking Dynamos 1-0 in a league match at Luveve Stadium in July.

In the other derby, How Mine lost 0-1 to Chicken Inn with the solitary goal coming from leading PSL scorer Tendai Ndoro, before avenging with a 2-1 victory at Luveve last month.

Ndoro has joined Mpumalanga Black Aces of South Africa.

Chicken Inn had gone ahead first through Ndoro before How Mine sealed victory with goals from Menard Mupera and Timothy January.

Meanwhile, Highlanders will be without one of their key players, attacking midfielder Milton Ncube, on Sunday.

Ncube is one of 10 players on one-match suspension after accumulating three yellow cards.