HIGHLANDERS head coach Kelvin Kaindu will be using the Cephas George Msipa Scholarship Trust charity tournament to prepare for the 2014 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season, saying the tournament will be good competition for his boys.
Highlanders take on PSL returnees Chapungu in the semi-final of the $12 000 pre-season competition at Ascot Stadium in Gweru tomorrow with the other semi-final being a Zvishavane derby between FC Platinum and Shabanie Mine and Mandava.
The final will be played at Mandava on Sunday and could be the Zambian gaffer’s second silverware with Highlanders since he joined them in 2012 after bagging the Mbada Diamonds Cup last year.
Kaindu who saw Warriors goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya trained with Highlanders yesterday morning and was expecting Milton Ncube and Peter “Rio” Moyo in the afternoon, said he still has a lot of work to do.
“There is still a lot of work to do but we are using this tournament as preparation for the new season. We are not sure yet which players we will be using as we are yet to get the rules of the tournament. There is something in the competition,” he said.
“It is a cup competition, but it comes early before we have played any game. But winning it will be good as it gives you something to talk about. Diya trained with us in the morning and I am expecting Milton and Rio to join us in the afternoon.”
Highlanders have brought in new faces in the squad that include goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni, Khumbulani Banda and Valentine Ndaba with Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, Welcome Ndiweni and Charles Sibanda retracing their footsteps to the club.
Bosso retained goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, Bruce Kangwa, Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu, Innocent Mapuranga, Erick Mudzingwa, Mthulisi Maphosa, Simon Munawa, Hillary Madzivanyika, Gabriel Nyoni, Mgcini Sibanda and Douglas Sibanda with Cleopas Dube returning from a loan spell.
Chapungu return to the PSL after winning the Central Region Division One championship and Highlanders will be a good test for them as a re-introduction to top flight football.
The Airforce of Zimbabwe side will also be banking on home advantage to beat Highlanders and book a place in the final.
Chapungu, coached by John Nyikadzino have bolstered their squad acquiring Brighton Mugoni, who was at Black Rhinos last year, Shabanie Mine’s Roy Mazingi and Blessed Mbavarira. Also at Chapungu is Tripple B’s Maxwell Mavhuto, Hwange’s Tongai Mamina and Southern Region Division One side Black Boots’ Liberty Kim among a host of players that got them promoted to the PSL.
Winners of the tournament pocket $5 000 with the runners-up getting $3 000 with the losing semi-finalists each getting $2 000.