YET another Bulawayo Castle Lager Premier League derby is in the offing at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow when Chicken Inn host How Mine in a match expected to produce fireworks.
Chicken Inn desperately need the three points if they are to keep their championship hopes alive when they meet stubborn How Mine, now coached by Philani “Beefy” Ncube after the sacking of his namesake Philani Mabhena.
The GameCox head coach Mandla Mpofu said derbies were tricky, but was looking forward to completing a double over How Mine, a team that he beat 1-0 at BF on Africa Day.
“Derbies are always tough and How Mine will want to win this one after we beat them in the last game, but we need those three points like yesterday. Our players that were with the Warriors (Tendai Ndoro, skipper Felix Chindungwe and Danny “Deco” Phiri) will be joining us today.
We have a very strong squad with a number of good players and it is not going to be easy to come up with an 18-member squad, but it’s very health and it’s very good for competition. Everyone has to fight hard,” Mpofu said.
Chicken Inn, on position five with 31 points, brought in Dylan Chivandire, Clement Matawu and recalled Evans Chikwaikwai from injury to bolster the strikeforce which has been heavily dependent on Ndoro, who has banged in almost half of the Bulawayo side’s goals.
In the strikers’ ranks is Mkhokheli Dube, Thomas Chimenya and Tendai Mukambi.
They have also grabbed Charles Mutero from Motor Action. He is likely to partner Chindungwe in central defence after a good show in the 1-1 friendly match against Highlanders on Saturday.
How Mine gaffer Ncube said they will come to the game as underdogs, but it being a derby, it could be won by either side with the game belonging to the players.
“We are underdogs, but we will just play our normal game.
“Psychologically, we are down (in apparent reference to sacked head coach Mabhena) and players have to adjust to a new philosophy. But it’s a derby and it’s a game for the players. I will guide them, but what we have to do is to control the intensity of the game.
“We have lots of respect for Chicken Inn who have done very well so far,” he said.
Ncube said he was yet to get hold of top striker Simbarashe Sithole who has been with the Warriors.
Captain Hebert Dick will not be part of the team due to suspension.
How Mine brought in Qinani “Chroma” Sibanda, Sizalobuhle Dube and Nyasha Mukumbi, with Donald Chiringa graduating from the juniors. Ncube said former national team goalkeeper Ephraim Mazarura would not be part of the squad as he was still facing problems with getting an international transfer certificate from Swaziland. The other star players in the How Mine squad are Simon Njeleza, Nqobile Mpala and former Highlanders captain Gilbert Banda.
How Mine are on position nine on the log table with 24 points.
The other reason that would bring flavour to the derby is that Ncube is a former Chicken Inn coach.