CAN Highlanders get it right this time?
Eight years ago in July, Highlanders beat Dynamos home and away with 1-0 and 2-0 scorelines and since then they have struggled to win against the defending champions.
It was in that same year that they last won the league championship under the guidance of Methembe Ndlovu.
Since 2006, the two teams have played 17 games, Dynamos won eight of those with Highlanders winning two and they drew seven.
Twice Highlanders have lost the championship to Dynamos on goal difference.
But then again that is just history.
Highlanders will take on Dynamos in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) match tomorrow afternoon with the defending league champions having the confidence that they could complete a double over the jittery home team.
Bosso lost their second match of the season to Black Rhinos 0-1 during the week while Dynamos were held to a 1-1 draw by Chicken Inn.
Dynamos, who are third on the log, are breathing heavily down on Bosso who lead the standings with 32 points, the same as the Harare giants.
Goal difference separates the three teams Highlanders, ZPC Kariba and Dynamos at the top of the log.
Dynamos have mainly relied on striker Rodreck Mutuma who failed to impress at South African side Bloemfontein Celtic and also failed trials at Moroka Swallows before rejoining the Harare side.
Top goalscorer in the league at the moment, Charles Sibanda, who has netted 10 goals in the league will probably be one to look out for.
Veteran Murape Murape, Thomas Magorimbo, Devon Chafa (pulled out due to injury against Chicken Inn), Washington Pakamisa and Oscar Machapa are some of the Dynamos players who could carry the day for the Harare giants.
Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu, who has been experimenting with combinations, could make use of new signings Pascal Manhanga, Joel Ngodzo, Sibanda, Welcome Ndiweni, with Njabulo Ncube up front and Felix Chindungwe anchoring.
Chindungwe, who was on a one-match suspension, could stabilise the midfield, but would have to contend with stalwart Dynamos anchor Stephen Alimenda.
Blessing Moyo for Dynamos was on a one-match suspension and would also be in the starting line-up.
Kaindu said they had to pick up the pieces from their last defeat.
“We are coming from a defeat and we have to now work on how we move on. We have to believe in ourselves and work hard. The last results do not determine the game, if they did the league would always be one sided,” he said.
The Zambian national said all his players were ready for the match save for injured Rahman Kutsanzira, Gabriel Nyoni, Simon Munawa and Munyaradzi Diya.
Soon after their match against chicken Inn, coach Kalisto Pasuwa, who has developed a knack for avoiding pre-match interviews, said they had to rectify the mistakes they made and “face Highlanders with a compact team”.
Pasuwa for the umpteenth time did not answer his mobile phone despite the fact that at some point he was on another call.
The PSL statutes state that failure or refusal to conduct pre-match or post-match interview by the head coach, captain or player results in a fine of $125 to be imposed on the offending head coach, captain or player and the club would be fined $500.
Meanwhile, Chicken Inn play Hwange at Luveve Stadium on Sunday with coach Joey Antipas desperate for a win as he last tasted victory in June.
What people say
Supporters from both Highlanders and Dynamos had this to say about the match:
Cameron Moyo from Emganwini (Highlanders):
We have to win at all costs. We have lost so much to Dynamos and it is high time we won. It does not matter that we lost to Black Rhinos, but this match is a must-win for us. I believe Njabulo Ncube will score and we will have a 1-0 victory.
Moses Takawira Emganwini (Dynamos):
According to statistics Dynamos is stronger and we have a forceful striker Rodreck Mutuma. If we draw it is OK, but we are looking forward to a win. It is obvious we are winning.
Inos Mubango Nketa 9 (Dynamos):
We are definitely winning this one. We have always beaten Bosso and it’s been eight years since they last defeated us. We want to maintain that. Our players are not under pressure, it is Highlanders who are under pressure for a win. We know that Murape Murape will also be playing. We are confident.
Billy Sibanda Nketa 9 (Highlanders):
We do not want to lose to Dynamos. We have lost so many times to them. They should tell themselves that they are coming for a loss.
Nkosilathi Mdlongwa Gwabalanda (Highlanders):
Highlanders is a big team and we will win by a big margin. We have the quality of players that can carry the day like Mthulisi Maphosa, Innocent Mapuranga, Charles Sibanda and Pasca Manhanga in attack. I am optimistic that this time around we will beat them even by a 2-0 scoreline.