HIGHLANDERS Football Club captain Innocent Mapuranga has challenged his teammates to forget about Harare City’s poor start to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign when the two teams come face to face in the Uhuru Cup third place play-off at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
The two teams will be meeting for the second time this year as they met in the semi-finals of the Bob 90 Super Cup in which Highlanders emerged 2-1 victors.
Harare City have had a poor start to the new season losing two of their opening games.
Bigboy Mawiwi’s boys lost 0-3 at the hands of Chicken Inn at Luveve Stadium in the opening match of the season before losing 1-2 to city neighbours Caps United last week. However, the Highlanders skipper did not want to read much into Harare City’s poor form and believes that they should be treated with respect like any other team PSL team.
Despite their poor start to the campaign, Harare City who finished third last season trailing Bosso and Dynamos on goal difference, are still among the championship favourites.
He said the team should not bank on last week’s performance where the Bulawayo giants beat Shabanie Mine 4-1, but work hard and engage Harare City with a different approach.
“We are approaching this game like any other match. It is worthy much, so we have to be at our best. At Highlanders we respect every team we play against. We have a different approach to every team, but we do not change attitude because we go to the pitch with a winning mentality. This will be a different game altogether so we are not going to relax because we beat Shabanie Mine convincingly last week. We will go out there with a winning mentality. They had a bad start in the new soccer season, but we still respect them like any team,” Mapuranga said.
Bosso fans have not yet forgotten their team’s 0-4 drubbing at the hands of the City boys in Harare that cost them the championship towards the end of the season. Even the players are aware that a convincing win against the team that denied them a chance to win the championship, especially in a money game, will console their faithfuls who have gone for seven years without a league championship.
Mapuranga said the team will also use the match as a yardstick to measure their pedigree in this year’s PSL campaign.
“The match will also keep us focused in the PSL race. Winning against a team like Harare City can shows you where you are. We must win this match to boost ourselves,” he added.
Highlanders chairman Peter Dube said head coach Kelvin Kaindu who was attending a Uefa B licence course is expected to take charge of the team.
“We are expecting him to be here by Friday, he might be in the country by tomorrow (today) he said.
Efforts to talk to one of Harare City players were fruitless as head coach Bigboy Mawiwi said the club did not want to put their players under pressure.
“We don’t want them to talk to the media at the moment. They had a bad start to the season so we don’t want to give them unnecessary pressure,” he said.
Harare City will be without injured Crybert Mubvuti, Martin Vengesai, Nathan Ziwini and Munyaradzi Kunyarimwe. Bosso will miss the services of striker Gabriel Nyoni who was injured last Sunday against Shabanie Mine.