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Highlanders in player crisis

by Staff reporter
02 Jul 2021 at 19:20hrs | Views
AFTER playing their last two Group 2 Chibuku Super Cup games with a makeshift defence, Highlanders are in yet another quandary as five more players could miss Sunday's tie against Bulawayo Chiefs due to various reasons.

The Bulawayo giants have 16 players available for Sunday's tie against Chiefs at Barbourfields Stadium with three goalkeepers and 13 in-field players as they also failed to register five players due to unavailability of international clearances before the start of the tournament.

Midfielder Devine Mhindirira and defenders Andrew Tandi and Andrew Mbeba have been ruled out of the game through injuries Mbeba is on national duty with the Warriors, who travel to South Africa for the Cosafa Cup. Bukhosi Sibanda picked an injury at training this week, while Adrian Silla is not feeling well.

The five add on to Joel "Josta" Ngodzo, Peter Muduhwa, Winston Mhango, Keith Mavhunga and Lynoth Chikuhwa, whom the club could not register before the start of the Chibuku Super Cup tournament, but they are part of the 26-member Highlanders squad for the 2021 season

"I had five players who were not eligible for the first round, but I am going back to the same situation. I have got a very slim squad because the injury list has grown ahead of Sunday's game, but what is important and key is how I can get the best players to play on Sunday," coach Mandla Mpofu told the media yesterday.

"In essence, I have 10 players who are not available from the 26-member squad. I have three goalkeepers and 13 in-field players available that are supposed to play this crucial game on Sunday. It is not going to be easy, but we will try by all means."

The available goalkeepers are Ariel Sibanda, Future Sibanda and Reward Muza. With Mbeba out and Tandi injured in the second game against Chicken Inn, Mpofu juggled the team around and played Mbongeni Ndlovu and Chrispen Ncube in central defence with versatile Pritchard Mpelele on the left and Charlton Siamalonga coming on the right.

Muduhwa, Mbeba's regular partner in central defence, had already been ruled out because of clearance issues.

That same defence is also likely to play against Bulawayo Chiefs on Sunday, but Mpofu will have a headache in the midfield, where Silla is likely to miss the game due to illness. Ray Lunga and Washington Navaya could partner upfront with Muziwakhe Dlamini also likely to be thrust in among the attackers.

Godfrey Makaruse is also available, with the other options being Rodi Sibanda, Toto Banda and Mthabisi Ncube. The Bulawayo giants sit second in Group 2, where they have the same number of points as leaders Chicken Inn, who rule the roost by a superior goal difference.

Chicken Inn face Bulawayo City tomorrow at Barbourfields Stadium.

Source - newsday
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