CAN Highlanders players from junior ranks exorcise the ghost that has seen Bosso fail to beat Dynamos when the two sides meet in the Gushungo Victory Cup at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday?
Winners of the tournament, organised to celebrate President Robert Mugabe’s victory in last year’s harmonised elections, will walk away with $45 000 while losers will pocket $35 000, according to the organisers.
Of the four games that Bosso played against Dynamos this year, the Bulawayo giants lost both league matches 0-1 in Harare and Bulawayo, lost 0-2 in the final of the Bob 90 Super Cup and lost 1-4 in the TM Pick n Pay Challenge Cup.
Highlanders, who had a dismal season devoid of any piece of silverware — pouring contempt on Eagle Life Assembly prophet Blessing Chiza’s forecast that the Bulawayo giants would be crowned champions — meet their perennial rivals Dynamos for the fifth time this year.
Dynamos won the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) title for the fourth consecutive time last Sunday when they beat How Mine 2-0, as ZPC Kariba fell 2-3 to Caps United.
While the championship battles raged on in the capital, Highlanders beat Chapungu United 2-0 at Hartsfield Rugby Ground to mark the end of the season in position five.
Scorers of the goals were juniors George Makaruse and King Nadolo.
On Sunday, Highlanders could once again give a chance to the youthful players against Dynamos although head coach Mark Mathe said that would depend on how they performed at training during the week.
“We have 32 players in our squad and no one has been discarded,” he said.
“I don’t want to say so, but you might see a couple of young lads playing on Sunday. At the end of the day, it is about what we want to achieve. They (the juniors) will be fielded if they are selected.”
Junior players that are registered are Makaruse, Nadolo, Mgcini Sibanda, Bothwell Nyathi and goalkeeper Nkosana Siwela. Defender Grassiano Chakafana is out injured while Bosso have another young player Tapiwa Dephistara who joined in mid-season from Chiredzi.
“We respect Dynamos and we have been preparing like we do for any other game, but our figures against Dynamos are not good,” Mathe said.
“We have been coming second best to them in the past years and this year they have been crowned the champions. But they should not underrate us. Highlanders are a big club. What we have been lacking when we play Dynamos is mental strength and we have been talking to the boys about it during the week.
“They should know what it means to don that black and white jersey and should play for pride. What is motivating is that there are monetary rewards in the game and that should be critical.”
PSL joint top goalscorer Charles Sibanda, who was instrumental in the two goals scored by Makaruse and Nadolo, will be available and so is evergreen Felix Chindungwe, Bruce Kangwa Welcome Ndiweni, Pasca Manhanga, Joel Ngodzo and Simon Munawa.