Pressure mounts, Beefy gags players

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AS THE countdown to the Mbada Diamonds Cup final between Highlanders and How Mine at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday gathers momentum, pressure seems to be mounting on the gold miners as the technical team has barred players from talking to the media.

FORTUNE MBELE
SPORTS REPORTER

The derby final is the third outing between the Bulawayo giants and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) debutants. The newcomers have prevailed over Bosso in the two league outings played at Emagumeni.

Some players from How Mine yesterday said they would have to be authorised by the head coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube to say anything to the media while the gaffer first said he was at training in the morning before his phone was answered by assistant coach Simba Rusike.

Rusike said Beefy was going into a marathon meeting with the team’s management and would only be available after three hours.

“The coach says we should not speak to journalists. You can talk to him (Beefy). If he says it’s okay then we can talk,” one of the players after the morning training session yesterday said.

Ncube’s assistant coach answered his phone and said: “It’s Simba. The coach is going into a meeting. We are at the mine. You can try after three hours.”

Beefy’s phone went unanswered for the better part of the day, a move that could be seen as an attempt to ease pressure on How Mine as the club prepare for their first-ever cup final.

He has, however, been quoted in some sections of the media saying: “I said it before. We will put up a good show at Barbourfields. We want the cup as much as Highlanders want the glory. We have beaten them twice. Nothing can stop us from repeating that.”

How Mine can actually field 11 former Highlanders players who are in their books.

How Mine boasts quite a number of former Bosso players that include Gilbert Banda, captain Hebert Dick, Castle Lager Soccer Star of the year finalist Menard Mupera, Nqobile Mpala, Arnold Ndiweni, Warren Dube, Qinani “Chroma” Sibanda while players like Thembani “Smaller” Masuku, Brighton Dube and Simon Njeleza went through the Bosso junior ranks.

Assistant coach Rusike is a former Highlanders striker.

How Mine are on the verge of making history by winning the $130 000 Mbada Diamonds Cup and representing the country in next year’s Caf Confederation Cup.

They were held to a 2-2 draw in their last league match by relegated Tripple B on Sunday at Dulibadzimu, Beitbridge.
Highlanders who ceded the PSL title to Dynamos on goal difference on Sunday, will want to exorcise the ghost that has seen them falling to How Mine twice this year.

Highlanders lost to How Mine 1-2 in May at BF and their only score being an own goal by former player Dick, who went on to make amends and equalise with a powerful header before another former Bosso player – striker Mpala – scored the winner.

Warren, another former Bosso player, scored the only goal that saw How Mine complete a league double over Highlanders on September 15 at the same venue.

It will be a tough call for head coach Kelvin Kaindu, who has to win the hearts of Highlanders fans by bagging the Mbada Cup after failing on the league for the second time.