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'Highlanders badly need a win'

by Staff Reporter
24 Nov 2019 at 09:09hrs | Views
HIGHLANDERS will have one eye on the Chibuku Super Cup final with the other focusing on finishing in the top eight when they clash with Manica Diamonds in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon.

Bosso badly need a win following consecutive draws against Ngezi Platinum Stars and FC Platinum. With three matches left before the end of the season, Highlanders have a realistic chance of finishing in the top four, which is why it is crucial that they get a positive result against Manica Diamonds.

Highlanders coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh expressed his desire to collect three points and improve their position on the log.

"We play home, we will try to get three points to make steps on the rankings but is not easy, of course we know that Manica Diamonds is a good team," De Jongh said.

He feels that playing a league encounter less than a week before they go into a cup final makes the situation difficult seeing that players might decide to save energy for the big one.

"It's very difficult playing one week later a cup final because players automatically look to the final, it is no excuse but it's the reality."

In the first meeting between the two teams at Vengere Stadium, Prince Dube gave Highlanders the lead, which Bosso managed to cling onto until a minute to go when Pritchard Mpelele equalised for Manica Diamonds for the match to conclude in a 1-1 stalemate.

Highlanders head into battle with Manica Diamonds without the services of midfielder Adrian Silla who is suspended after collecting three yellow cards. Bosso also had defender MacClive Phiri and midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku battling injuries ahead of today's fixture.

Midfielder Brian Banda and striker Tinashe Makanda were also said to be unwell. De Jongh has to make a call on whether to risk the quartet or sit them out for the Chibuku Super Cup final.

Ariel Sibanda will look to add yet another clean sheet after keeping out the FC Platinum strikers at Mandava last Saturday. Peter Muduhwa has been outstanding for Highlanders in recent weeks and could even be an option at defensive link should Masuku miss out.

Dube will continue his hunt for goals, with the supply expected from the likes of Denzel Khumalo and Godfrey Makaruse.

Manica Diamonds interim head coach, Johannes Nhumwa has experienced players at his disposal capable of causing an upset at Emagumeni. Partson Jaure, Peace Makaha, Ismael Lawe, Marshal Mudehwe, Timire Mamvura, Benjamin Marere and Mpelele are some of those who have been around for much longer in the country's top flight league.

There is no doubt that the match of the weekend is at the National Sports Stadium where Caps United take on Dynamos. Makepekepe headed into this round of fixtures on top of the log and will be certainly favourites to collect maximum points against their city rivals as they seek to be crowned Zimbabwe champions again, something they last tasted in 2016.

Source - Sunday News

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