BULAWAYO will come alive today as the much-awaited Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) match pitting soccer giants Highlanders and Dynamos kicks off at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon.
Dynamos go into this match seeking to close the two-point lead that Highlanders enjoys over them while Bosso would want to increase it to a five-point gap.
Harare City leapt to the top of the log table yesterday following their 2-1 victory over Buffaloes in Harare while FC Platinum are still fourth after their 1-0 win over neighbours Shabanie Mine.
With four fixtures left in the PSL this match could serve as a championship decider between the four top teams — Harare City (48 points), Highlanders (47 points), Dynamos (45 points) and FC Platinum on 45 points.
Dynamos are the defending champions having also won the 2011 championship. This year they are gunning for a third consecutive title while Bosso are seeking their first triumph since 2006 when they last won the league under Methembe Ndlovu.
In the past weeks Highlanders have been on form having won recent PSL games as well as qualifying for the semi-finals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup with players such as Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube, Gabriel Nyoni and Mthulisi Maphosa playing a pivotal role in the wins.
Dynamos would want to stop the Highlanders fine run and victory for them could see them pulling ahead, continuing from their 4-0 demolition of Tripple B last Sunday.
Highlanders head coach Kelvin Kaindu could probabaly use captain Innocent Mapuranga in defence with Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu, Eric Mudzingwa and fast-paced left-back Bruce Kangwa also being thrown in to complete the wall.
Mudzingwa who recently returned from injury, seems to have taken charge of the right-back position which has seen Lawson Nkomo being thrust in the fold in his absence.
Bruce Tshuma, serving a one-match suspension for accumulating three yellow cards, will not feature today.
Dynamos’ Washington Pakamisa, who has scored the most for the team, could prove troublesome for Mapuranga and his defence with the help of Cliff Sekete, Clive Kawinga, returnée Simba Sithole, Patrick Khumbula and Oscar Machapa.
For Highlanders, Simon Munawa could be given the anchorman’s position ahead of Hillary Madzivanyika while Maphosa who has also done well in that area, could be given an attacking midfield role.
Maphosa has been coming off the bench with his latest having been when he scored the first goal for Bosso in the Mbada Cup quarter-final tie against Buffaloes in Masvingo.
He also came in as a sub in Kadoma in the 3-0 victory over Black Rhinos last Sunday.
Kaindu has a wide choice of players for the attacking position and could field Peter “Rio” Moyo, Bhekimpilo Ncube, Masimba Mambare — who seems to have picked up form at a crucial stage — Heritein Masuku and Milton Ncube.
The battle in the midfield could also feature veteran Murape Murape who has played an important role in the DeMbare engine room with the help of Tawanda Muparati and Boban Zirintusa.
The position of gunman which was troubling the Zambian gaffer at some point seems to have improved considering Bosso’s recent performance.
However, Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa has a strong defence made up of Partson Jaure, Gift Bello, Sydney Linyama, Victor Kamhuka, Ocean Mushure and Thomas Magorimbo.
Tshiki, who has scored nine goals for Highlanders with his recent strike coming in the match against Black Rhinos, could prove a headache for the Dynamos defence.
He’s rated as one of the most valuable players in Bosso colours as well as Nyoni, who could be thrown in the fray if fully fit — as he has been out injured.
Nyoni is considered as one of the outstanding players for the Bulawayo giants since his introduction in the second half of the season.
Shot stopper Munyaradzi Diya has done well between goals taking over from former Under-23 goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
On the other end, Pasuwa will bank on goalkeeper George Chigova who has conceded the least number of goals in the PSL.