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Bosso in tricky opening fixtures

by Staff reporter
01 Mar 2023 at 07:02hrs | Views
CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League title-starved Bulawayo sleeping giant Highlanders' five opening games will have a big tell in their quest to end a 17-year wait for the championship, as they face tricky opponents who include defending champions FC Platinum as well as old foe Dynamos.

Bosso, who won their last league title in 2006, host ZPC Kariba on the opening day of the 2023 Premiership season, followed by an away trip to Black Rhinos, then square off with FC Platinum at Barbourfields before locking horns with Chicken Inn in a local derby.

On match day five, Highlanders welcome archrivals Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium.

Bosso's five opponents are no pushovers, with the Bulawayo giants only managing 11 points from a possible 30 against the five teams last season.

Last season, Highlanders lost 2-0 to Black Rhinos on the opening day before winning the return leg 3-2 in Bulawayo. They drew both ties against ZPC Kariba, 0-0 at Nyamhunga and 1-1 at Barbourfields Stadium.

Highlanders lost home and away to champions FC Platinum last season.

In the first leg played on April 23, the match was abandoned at Mandava Stadium in the 84th minute when the two teams were deadlocked 1-1. Referee of the day Kuzivakwamwari Jaravaza awarded the late penalty to the home team that Highlanders contested as they argued that a collision between defender Peter Muduhwa and FC Platinum forward Walter Musona occurred outside the box.

As the game was about to resume following a lengthy stoppage caused by fans who stormed the pitch, police fired tear gas leading to the abandonment of the fixture.

The PSL then slapped Bosso with a US$6 000 fine and awarded FC Platinum three points on a 3-0 score line.

The reverse fixture in Bulawayo saw FC Platinum grabbing a late winner through Musona as the clash ended 3-2 in favour of Pure Platinum Play.

Last season, Highlanders shared spoils with Chicken Inn who they face on match day 4 of the 2023 Premiership season. They drew the first leg 1-1 and the second clash ended 2-2.

The 2021/22 season's biggest match in local football calendar pitting Highlanders and Dynamos was marred by ugly scenes as rowdy fans invaded the pitch at different intervals forcing the encounter to be abandoned on Sunday at Barbourfields Stadium.

The match played before the biggest paying crowd in the 2021/22 season had to be called off in the second minute of the 13 minutes optional time by referee Jimmy Makwanda after rowdy Dynamos hooligans stormed the pitch, tore nets and attempted to uproot the goalposts, with police helplessly watching.

Highlanders had taken the lead through Washington Navaya who nodded a cross from close range, sparking wild celebrations from Bosso fans.

With the conditions unconducive for the match to continue, the game was called off.

Bosso were awarded maximum points on a 3-0 score line against Dynamos.

The second leg played at the National Sports Stadium was a lousy affair that failed to live to its billing as it ended 0-0.

Highlanders have been quiet in their dealings, recalling goalkeeper Reward Muza from Bulawayo City, promoting Gillian Nyathi from Bosso 90. They signed Melikhaya Ncube from Bulawayo City and got striker Calvin Chigonero on loan from Talen Vision.

Bosso, yet to play a friendly match in Bulawayo are left with two weekends to introduce their 2023 season players to their hometown fans.

Chicken Inn kept the core players of their last season squad, with notable additions being central defender Mpumelelo Bhebhe and winger Callum English-Brown. Interestingly, the duo were identified playing for relegated Premiership sides Bulawayo City and Whawha.

The Gamecocks have what looks like relatively easy matches against Sheasham (away), Simba Bhora (home), Cranborne Bullets (away), Highlanders and Bulawayo Chiefs.

FC Platinum, who will be hunting for their fifth consecutive title beefed up their squad with striker Perfect Chikwende (Bulawayo Chiefs), former Triangle United defender Misheck Ngwenya and winger Jarrison Selemani who they snapped up from Cranborne Bullets.

The champions have the likes of Soccer Star of the Year Musona, Soccer Star of the Year finalists Gift Bello and Wallace Magalane as well as midfielders Brian Banda and Rainsome Pavari to guide them in their campaign.

FC Platinum's opening matches are lined up as follows, Simba Bhora (away), Cranborne Bullets (home), Highlanders, Bulawayo Chiefs (home) and Caps United (away).

Dynamos have signed at least 10 players who include the Moyo twins Kevin and Elvis, attacker Arthur "Diego" Musiyiwa, Nyasha Chintuli, Eli Ilunga, Jayden Bakare, Tendai Matindife, Keith Madera, Tanaka Shandirwa and Donald Mudadi.

DeMbare have also opened doors to prodigal son Denver Mukamba in their quest to challenge for the top gong under new coach Herbert Maruwa.

Before coming to Highlanders, Dynamos will face Hwange (away) on the opening day of the season, followed by a home game against Sheasham, then travel to face former coach Tonderai Ndiraya at Simba Bhora and then Cranborne Bullets.

Source - The Chronicle
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