HIGHLANDERS’ Mamelodi Sundowns-bound exciting attacking midfielder Kudakwashe Mahachi will miss the second Bulawayo derby pitting Bosso against his former paymasters Chicken Inn tomorrow at Barbourfields Stadium (BF).
He leaves for South Africa today to sort out papers related to acquiring a work permit ahead of his depature in June.
Mahachi played for Chicken Inn for two seasons on loan from Bantu Rovers after he penned a contract with the Brazilians this year.
He opted to play for Highlanders while waiting to join the South African side.
Mahachi was persuaded to sign for the Absa Premier League leaders by former Warriors skipper Peter Ndlovu, now team manager at the Brazilians. Ndlovu is Highlanders’ all-time greatest export having played in England and South Africa.
Mahachi has scored one goal for Bosso in their last four matches, finding the target at Chishamiso Stadium when Highlanders beat Chiredzi FC 3-0 on Easter Monday.
Mahachi confirmed his absence for the Chicken Inn match yesterday.
“I am going to South Africa tomorrow (today) to sort out papers for my work permit and I will not be available on Thursday (tomorrow),” he said.
Mahachi, who has also been linked to big spending French side Monaco, was on target for Chicken Inn when they beat Highlanders 1-0 at BF last year in June and was also part of the GameCocks squad that played a goalless draw in the return fixture in July.
His absence would take away some flavour from the derby as it would have been more exciting to see the Highlanders dribbling wizard take on his former teammates.
However, Highlanders head coach Kelvin Kaindu will expect a tough encounter coming from a 1-1 draw against Hwange at BF on Saturday.
Bosso could also be without Mthulisi Maphosa who was pulled out injured on Sunday and the derby could see the return of Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, yet to feature for the Bulawayo giants in league matches since rejoining them from FC Platinum.
“Derbies are never easy. It’s a game that belongs to the players, who socialise together. Chicken Inn are one of the good sides in Bulawayo and always give us a hard time and it is going to be an entertaining match,” Kaindu said.
“Mthulisi is still undergoing physiotherapy with doctors who are yet to confirm if he is fit. Our preparations are going on well. As for Joel, he has been training. It’s not that he is not making it into the team, it is the structure of the team that has many midfielders, but you will see him very soon.”
With Mahachi absent, Kaindu might have the option of moving left-back Bruce Kangwa up front and playing Khumbulani Banda in his position, with Ozias Zibande likely to start ahead of Rahman Kutsanzira, who had a bad day on Sunday.
Milton Ncube and Charles Sibanda could slot into the position behind with Erick Mudzingwa as anchorman.
Chicken Inn are coming from two draws — 2-2 to FC Platinum at home and 1-1 to Triangle away after suffering a 0-2 defeat to Buffaloes in Mutare — and will definitely be out for maximum points with former Bosso players Mkhokheli Dube and Bhekimpilo “Barca” Ncube.
The Joey Antipas-coached Chicken Inn, who lost goalkeeper Njabulo “Popo” Nyoni and Felix Chindungwe to Highlanders, also have Danny “Deco” Phiri, Brian Mbiriri, Tendai Mukambi, Clemence Matawu and Thabani Goredema in their books with new signing Ishmael Lawe, Ben Nyahunzvi, Charles Mutero and Toto Banda.
Antipas has brought in Prince Matore from the now defunct Motor Action of Harare and word is that he is planning to bring in Marlon Jani as the goalkeepers’ coach to complete his overhaul of the technical department.
Match day five fixtures
Chiredzi FC v How Mine (Chishamiso),
Harare City v Buffaloes (Rufaro),
Shabanie Mine v Bantu Rovers (Maglas),
ZPC Kariba v FC Platinum (Gwanzura),
Hwange v Black Rhinos (Colliery),
Caps United v Triangle United (National Sports Stadium),
Chapungu v Dynamos (Ascot),
Chicken Inn v Highlanders (Barbourfields)