HIGHLANDERS dropped two more points, but still remained on top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) log after they were held to a goalless draw by How Mine at Barbourfields Stadium, Bulawayo, yesterday.
Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
How Mine . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
It was Bosso’s eighth draw of the season. They remained at the top of the log-standings with 32 points as champions Dynamos were also held to a goalless draw by Black Rhinos at Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma to move to 31 points.
The match saw the return of Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube and new signing Pascal Manhanga coming in for an ineffective Valentine Ndaba in the 56th minute.
Ncube displayed some brilliant touches in the first half, setting up Mthulisi Maphosa inside the box three minutes into the game, but the veteran Highlanders midfielder failed to convert the pass.
In the 19th minute, Ncube once again had a good build-up with Charles Sibanda, but the latter’s effort from the edge of the box was safely collected by How Mine goalkeeper Ephraim Mazarura. Mazarura came to How Mine’s rescue four minutes later from a Sibanda left-footer after the leading PSL scorer was once again set up by Ncube.
Manhanga, who played wide on the right, had some deft touches sending in good crosses, which, however, found no takers.
How Mine’s only chance came in the 38th minute when Morris Kadzola was hacked down by Felix Chindungwe who earned a yellow card, but Brighton Dube’s effort from the set-piece was punched away by Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
Despite the draw which definitely did not go down well with Highlanders supporters, coach Kelvin Kaindu is still hopeful as Bosso head to Kadoma for Black Rhinos during the week and host Dynamos at the weekend.
“I think if you look at the way we played in the derbies last season, we dropped so many points. In these derbies we have picked up four points which I think is an advantage for us. If we manage to pick up two points in two matches I think we are heading somewhere,” he said.
“Today after a long time we improved in terms of play and passing. Njabulo and Pascal have not been active in terms of fitness, but with the way they played I think with time, they will add some value to the team. There is a slight improvement in terms of mobility. It is unfortunate that we did not score.”
His counterpart at How Mine, Philani Ncube, said it was a good start for them after going through a bad patch.
“As much as we wanted three points, a point is for us is a starting point. We are still in there. We are not taking anything away from Highlanders. They played very well. It was a derby. We know on possession they would be better than us and we wanted to get them on the break,” Ncube said.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, E Mudzingwa, B Kangwa, D Ndlovu, I Mapuranga, F Chindungwe, V Ndaba (P Manhanga 56th minute), M Maphosa (O Zibande 69th minute), K Mutizwa (G Makaruse 56th minute), N Ncube, C Sibanda
How Mine: E Mazarura, B Dube, J Chitereki, G Magariro, N Mukumbi, G Banda, E Muzanenhamo, H Masuku (C Masocha 55th minute), K Musharu (E Mandiranga 85th minute), T Masuku, M Kadzola (T January 74th minute)