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Highlanders out to defend BF fortress

by Staff Reporter
05 May 2018 at 09:21hrs | Views
HIGHLANDERS will be hoping to maintain their 100 percent unbeaten record at Barbourfields Stadium this year in all competitions when they take on bottom of the table but dangerous ZPC Kariba tomorrow afternoon.

Amahlolanyama have played seven games at Emagumeni this season and the young lads have jealously guarded their territory, never giving up even when down or chasing.  Their cause has also been helped by the fans who have been thronging Barbourfields in their numbers and tomorrow's encounter is not expected to be an exception.

Only two opponents have so far managed to avoid leaving the turf in defeat, Triangle and city neighbours Chicken In who managed to post a 0-0 and two apiece stalemates respectively.  All other five teams have left empty handed.

However, their opponents this time have been tricky customers and are the sole reason why Zambian import Kelvin Kaindu parted ways with the Bulawayo giants when they outclassed Bosso at Hartsfield grounds on their debut season in 2014, beating them 1-3.

That psychological supremacy might work in their favour and give them belief that maybe, just maybe, they can be the first side to hand Madinda Ndlovu his first defeat at Barbourfields Stadium.

It's an encounter that needs not to be taken lightly by the home side but there seems to be an aura of bulliness in the Highlanders camp that has been growing from game number one.

There is no guessing that Ndlovu's "ECD" boys will be keen to preserve their record that has seen them go for 630 minutes without a loss. The visitors are the only winless side in the 18 team league and have managed to score just three goals in 810 minutes of league action.

Star defender Peter Muduhwa makes a return to the squad having missed the Workers Day win over Mutare City due to suspension, while hardman Tendai Ndlovu is also available for selection having been discharged from the casualty ward and given an all clear sign by the medical department. However hard working vice captain Gabriel Nyoni, who suffered a concussion on Tuesday, has been ruled out, so is dribbling menace Godfrey 'Baba Jukwa' Makarutse who has a knock on his ankle and right back Bukhosi Ncube who continues with his rehabilitation.

"Gabriel is definitely out of this tie as a result of a mild concussion which he picked during the game against Mutare City. Makarutse has been given complete rest until Monday while Bukhosi is still out," said team doctor Shepherd Khumalo.

Muduhwa's return is however not a guarantee of an immediate return to the starting 11 on the central defence as his replacement in the Mutare City game, 18 year old Andrew Mbeba had a dream debut, putting up a classy performance alongside Carlton Siamalonga.  The young lad was unfortunate to pick up a knock towards the end of the game and Ndlovu might not want to aggravate it.

Also set to return is the duo of Adrian Silla and Nigel Makumbe. While some Highlanders fans might be skeptical of the strikeforce of Newman Sianchali and Ozias Zibande due to the number of misses, it is actually the ability to keep the defenders on the back foot  everytime whenever in possession that is key and one can only perfect their shooting skills through trying.

Unlike in past seasons, all of the Highlanders forwards have found the target this season, a clear sign of their potential.

In other matches, top two sides, FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum have relatively easy outings away to Herentals and at home to Yadah respectively while bruising derbies are on the cards in Gweru and Bulawayo when Nichrut clash with Chapungu while Chicken Inn lock horns against a buoyant Bulawayo City.

Both derbies are set to be explosive and provide full value for the paying supporters.

Fixtures

Today: Herentals v FC Platinum (Rufaro), Nichrut v Chapungu (Ascot), Chicken Inn v Bulawayo City (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Yadah (Baobab)

Tomorrow: Highlanders v ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Caps United (Maglas), Dynamos v Harare City (Rufaro), Triangle United v Bulawayo Chiefs (Gibbo),      Mutare City Rovers v Black Rhinos (Vengere)

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Source - Chronicle

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