DEFENDER Simon Munawa endured a tough afternoon on Sunday against FC Platinum’s Marshall Tatenda Mudehwe as Highlanders drew their fifth Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match of the season.


The speedy Mudehwe, called up by Ian Gorowa for Warriors duty against Tanzania, was a marvel to watch with his pace and skill and had Donald Ngoma been more accurate in front of goal, Platinum could have harvested a number of goals.

Highlanders’ decision to offload their two natural right-backs Lawson Nkomo and Bruce Tshuma without replacing them now seems to be backfiring.

Last season, coach Kelvin Kaindu made use of Nkomo and Tshuma as well as Erick Mudzingwa at some point when the two flankers were out of action.

Munawa was pushed to the right flank having played as an anchorman, or at times in front of Mthulisi Maphosa when Nkomo and Tshuma were not available. Mudzingwa has been given the linkman’s role ahead of Hillary Madzivanyika and Maphosa.

Mudzingwa had previously played as an attacking midfielder and in central defence, but did not have one of his best days in the linkman’s position on Sunday. He was outplayed by the experienced Thabani Kamusoko.

This left right-back Munawa at the mercy of Mudehwe. His recovery was questionable as he seemed to lack pace.

Bosso made use of five forwards – Charles Sibanda, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Knox Mutizwa, Ozias Zibande and Milton Ncube – with the defensive side having Bruce Kangwa, Innocent Mapuranga, Dumisani Ndlovu and Munawa.

Ndlovu and Mapuranga were at times forced to move to Munawa’s position to try and cover for him every time Ngoma made a run for goal.
Although Munawa assisted in the goal scored by Sibanda, he was struggling throughout the afternoon.

And Kaindu noted this in his post-match interview.

“We were exposed mainly on our right, but I think towards the end of the game Munawa tried to pick up his game,” Kaindu said.

Despite being part of a star-studded line-up Munawa could not be substituted as the options they had on the bench were central defender Felix Chindungwe and left-back Khumbulani Banda.

Bosso played second fiddle in terms of ball possession, but FC Platinum failed to utilise the number of chances that they had.

Platinum could have easily won the match by more than four goals, but their finishing left them wanting with Ngoma, Mitchelle Katsvairo, Mudehwe and captain Kamusoko firing on target, but being denied by goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.

Sunday’s match at Barbourfields was played at a fast pace in the opening stanza, but fizzled out in the second half after Platinum coach Lloyd Mutasa brought in defender Aaron Katebe for a striker Stephen Sibanda – a signal that he was content with picking up a point than going for an outright win.

FC Platinum – 10th on the standings – have been lacking in terms of consistency this season, but have picked up four points from their two matches and have an easier task against Black Rhinos at home on Saturday.

Highlanders’ failure to collect maximum points against FC Platinum left them leading by a point from second and third-placed Hwange and Dynamos respectively ahead of a tough two weeks ahead of them.

Next weekend, they will travel to struggling Triangle before making the trip to Harare for a date with defending champions Dynamos in Week 12 which will test their resolve to remain at the top of the standings.

Bosso have 20 points with Hwange and Dynamos both on 19 while How Mine on fourth place are on 18 and ZPC Kariba on 16 completing the top five.

All Bulawayo sides failed to pick maximum points at home this weekend with Chicken Inn the better team after they managed one point at Shabanie Mine.

Bantu Rovers were held to a 0-0 draw by ZPC Kariba on Friday while How Mine dropped two points against Harare City the following day at Luveve Stadium in Bulawayo.

How Mine coach Philani Ncube attributed the draw to the international break which was necessitated by last week’s Warriors match against Tanzania in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

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