HIGHLANDERS are likely to face bitter rivals FC Platinum without skipper Innocent Mapuranga and midfielder Mthulisi Maphosa in the BancABC Sup8r Cup at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo tomorrow.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE
Highlanders head coach Kelvin Kaindu yesterday said the two were not in the best of health and will probably not be part of the squad that takes on Platinum tomorrow.
Kaindu said both his goalkeepers Munyaradzi Diya and Ariel Sibanda, midfielders Milton Ncube and Peter “Rio” Moyo had minor injuries, but he was hopeful they would be fit for the game.
“Mapuranga and Mthulisi are not feeling well and will probably not be part of the team on Saturday (tomorrow).
“Ariel, Diya, Milton and Rio have minor injuries. But we have today (yesterday) and tomorrow (Saturday) and the doctors are doing everything to see to it that they are match fit,” Kaindu said.
If Mapuranga does not make it, Erick Mudzingwa could partner Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu in central defence while either Hillary Madzivanyika or Douglas Sibanda are likely replacements for Maphosa.
Third-choice goalkeeper Ashford Katsande could be making his debut in a cup tie for Bosso if Ariel and Diya are declared unfit for tomorrow.
Be that as it may, the Zambian gaffer said he was expecting a good game against Platinum and would not be looking into Bosso’s cup record. He hopes the tables will be turned on Saturday for the Bulawayo giants to progress to the semi-final of the Sup8r Cup.
“It is going to be a good match. We have so much respect for FC Platinum and the better team will carry the day. What is important for us is to focus on the present and hope that the past can be turned,” Kaindu said.
Highlanders could be welcoming back strikers Beaven Chikaka, and Cleopas “Balotelli” Dube with Masimba Mambare, Graham Ncube and Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube assisting in attack.
Bosso are coming from two defeats inflicted by Chicken Inn and Caps United in the league and a win against Platinum in the cup tie could reignite their form as they face the Green Machine in the reverse league game next weekend.
Warriors’ assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa, who engages in his first assignment as Platinum acting coach against Highlanders, said he was hopeful he would cause an upset in his first job with the Zvishavane-based club.
“So far so good and everyone is up and about. Football is a pressure game and one has to come to terms with playing Highlanders, a big club which is on top. Save for Qadir (Amin) nursing a shin injury, we have got a clean bill of health. It is every coach’s wish to come out tops in their first assignment,” Mutasa said.
FC Platinum have one of the strongest squads in the Castle Lager Premiership, boasting the likes of Ali Sadiki, Charles Sibanda, Nelson Mazivisa, Joel “Josta” Ngodzo and Thabani Kamusoko.
Also at Platinum are the twins Kevin and Elvis Moyo and Welcome Ndiweni.
The BancABC Sup8r Cup quarter-finals, starting with the Chicken Inn-Shabanie Mine match at Mandava this afternoon, will be broadcast on SuperSport 9.
Motor Action takes on Monomotapa (12:30pm) before Dynamos clash with Buffaloes at Gibbo in Chiredzi on Sunday.