Bulawayo City . . . 0
Highlanders . . . . . 0
HIGHLANDERS’ right-back problem seems to be haunting them again this year with coach Bongani Mafu describing it as a thorny issue after their practice match against Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday which ended in a goalless deadlock.
The Highlanders coach was expected to have named his final squad of 30 players yesterday after the match.
Bulawayo City are coached by former Chicken Inn gaffer Philani “Beefy” Ncube.
“I am in one of the best paths I can ever be. At the beginning I was worried about the quality of players or the availability of players,” Mafu after the match said.
“Now I can assure you we have a team at Highlanders. I am about 98% satisfied. The right-back (position) is a bit thorny for me. I am not overly impressed with the right-back situation, but I think it’s something that I can live with. I think a perfect football team does not exist, but if I have a problem with the right-back it means everyone else works hard because we have a problem there and the guy occupying that position can learn as we go on,” he said.
Lewis “Rambo” Ncube (pictured), who played right-back yesterday was on loan at Black Boots and is a product of the Highlanders juniors.
Another right-back, who joined Bosso last year – Webster Chingodza – sat on the bench.
“One of these days someone is going to get properly smacked because I think we now have a team. I can see very good players in there, so I am happy with the way we played,” he said.
Mafu, however, said his side gave too much respect to Bulawayo City instead of playing their normal game.
The Bosso gaffer appeared content with left-back Julius Daudi. Honest Moyo was sitting on the bench while in his debut, Teenage Hadebe from Bantu Rovers, played in central defence with Douglas Sibanda, before he was replaced by Felix Chindungwe.
Bulawayo City’s Ncube said the match had been a test to see where they are in terms of preparation for the Southern Region Division One League.
“We were testing where we are with our preparations. But what I can tell the people of Bulawayo is that we are there. One thing for sure is not us who benefited from this match, but it is Highlanders,” he said.
Ncube who sounded confident that his team could make it to the Premier Soccer League next season added: “We will not be their (Highlanders) opponents for the next 12 months, but this was just a practice match. I do not feel pretty well losing to Highlanders.”
He said Highlanders showed a higher level of fitness than his charges who struggled in some instances.
Ncube praised veteran goalkeeper Ndodana Sibanda whom he said kept them in the match.
“I was happy with his performance. I am surprised my team lasted 90 minutes even though at some point they struggled to gel,” he said.
Nqobizitha Masuku and Hadebe made their debut appearance for Bosso while Obadiah Tarumbwa made a comeback to his former side after signing with the Bulawayo giants last week from city neighbours Bantu Rovers.