HIGHLANDERS assistant coach Mark Mathe says it has been hectic in the last three weeks and will not undermine Premier Soccer League (PSL) returnees Chapungu when they engage them in the CG Msipa Trust Charity Cup semi-final at Ascot Stadium tomorrow.
Mathe has had no rest in the last three weeks of pre-season as the Bulawayo giants rush to finalise their squad for the 2014 season and has won two matches in charge beating Harare City 2-1 in the Bob 90 Super Cup semi-final and FC Platinum 1-0 in a friendly match.
Head coach Kelvin Kaindu is expected back today in time for tomorrow’s clash with Chapungu, but Mathe has been in charge of the team’s preparations.
“We have had no time to rest. We are still in our pre-season and we are taking these games seriously as we prepare for the new season. Getting promoted to the PSL means Chapungu is a good team and we respect them. But like I have said, we are in pre-season and we want to give all the new players a run as we gauge fitness,” he said.
“That is basically what we are looking at.”
The Bulawayo giants have grabbed some of the country’s finest players that include Kuda Mahachi, Valentine Ndaba, Charles Sibanda, Joel Ngodzo and Felix Chindungwe. In the last two matches Bosso have been trying new combinations with these players.
Highlanders are still discussing with Chicken Inn for Danny “Deco” Phiri and have also snatched Rahman Kutsanzira who sustained an injury in training, a day after joining Highlanders and was due for a doctor’s review yesterday.
They have signed New West City striker Mkhululi Dube after bringing in Welcome Ndiweni, Khumbulani Banda and goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni.
Bosso also managed to retain Warriors goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya, Milton Ncube and Peter “Rio” Moyo and senior players Bruce Kangwa, Simon Munawa, Innocent Mapuranga, Dumisani Ndlovu and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.
Moyo and Ncube scored against Harare City while Mahachi banged in the solitary winner against FC Platinum.
Chapungu head coach John Nyikadzino has said they are on an equal footing with Highlanders, but they respect the Bulawayo giants.
The PSL returnees are coming from a weekend morale-booster where they thrashed Caf Confederation Cup participants How Mine 5-1 in Gweru.
The other semi-final of the tournament pits Zvishavane town rivals FC Platinum and Shabanie Mine at Mandava tomorrow with the final slated for Sunday.
FC Platinum have played seven friendly matches to date, won five, drawn one and lost one. Last week against Highlanders head coach Lloyd Mutasa rested most of the senior players.
New players Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube and Gift Bello were in the starting line-up while Tarisai Rukanda came from the bench with Mutasa playing James Marufu, Livingstone Genti, Wisdom Mutasa and Walter Musona.
FC Platinum have retained Donald Ngoma, Thabani Kamusoko, Kelvin and Elvis Moyo, Qadir Amin, Nelson Maziwisa, Mitchelle Katsvairo, Aaron Katebe, Daniel Vheremu and goalkeepers Francis Tizayi and Petros Mhari.
Winners of the tournament will get $5 000, losing finalists $3 000 while the two other participating teams will receive
$2 000 each.