AFTER a fruitless pre-season campaign, Highlanders will be looking to nail down the marker as title favourites when they face Chapungu at Ascot Stadium in the opening match of the 2014 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season tomorrow.
Bosso, swamped by too many midfielders, have been having difficulty finding the right combination in preseason, losing four of their six matches and have only scored three goals.
They lock horns with Chapungu, a side that beat them 2-1 in a penalty shoot-out in the CG Msipa Charity Shield semi-final at the same venue with the hope of proving to their fans that they have what it takes to win the championship that has eluded them for seven years. Highlanders had relatively the best acquisitions this season, grabbing Kudakwashe Mahachi, Charles Sibanda, Valentine Ndaba, Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, Welcome Ndiweni while retaining Milton Ncube and Peter “Rio” Moyo.
Bosso have other midfielders — Mthulisi Maphosa, Hillary Madzivanyika and Simon Munawa, strikers Cleopas “Balotelli” Dube, the youthful Gabriel Nyoni, Knox Mutizwa and Mgcini Sibanda. By yesterday afternoon, head coach Kelvin Kaindu, who had arrived in Zambia from the United Kingdom after attending a Uefa B Licence course, had not arrived in Bulawayo, but was expected in the evening.
Bosso acquired Felix Chindungwe from Chicken Inn and Khumbulani Banda from How Mine to complement their defence of overlapping Bruce Kangwa, Erick Mudzingwa, the ageing Innocent Mapuranga and Dumisani Ndlovu. Bosso welcome back Rio, Mudzingwa and Milton who missed Sunday’s Independence Trophy semi-final against FC Platinum at Barbourfields Stadium when assistant coach Mark Mathe was in charge.
The Mamelodi Sundowns-bound Mahachi, who missed a sudden death penalty kick that cost Highlanders the Uhuru final, believes the boys have gelled and will do well going into the start of the league.
Chapungu United have said they want to collect maximum points from Highlanders and last Sunday they travelled to Bulawayo to watch Bosso play FC Platinum at BF, a sign that head coach John Nyikadzino means business tomorrow.
“We are ready for the start of the league and we want to collect maximum points. We were ready as of yesterday,” Nyikadzino said after watching the Bosso match.
Chapungu engaged goalkeeper Roy Mazingi from Shabanie Mine and they also have the likes of Calisto Maheya, Brighton Mugoni, Blessed Mbavarira, Rodwell Mhlanga and Lawrence Mapuya.
In one of their friendly matches, Chapungu mauled How Mine 5-1 in Gweru when the gold miners were preparing for one of their Orange Caf Confederation Cup matches.