|Bosso, Quelaton face off again|
|Saturday, 04 August 2012 19:42|
Sports EditorTHE stage is set for a nerve-wrecking game as Highlanders and Quelaton, two teams with different missions, clash in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match this afternoon at Barbourfields Stadium as both teams kick-start their campaign in the second half of the 2012 season.
Quelaton need the points to survive relegation, while Bosso have to account for every point if they are to entertain any hopes of a say in the destination of the country’s coveted premiership trophy that has eluded the Bulawayo giants since 2006.
Highlanders are in pole position with 33 points from 15 games, while Quelaton are rooted to the basement of the 16-team log with five points from the same number of games.
Moreover, the title might prove a vital addition on Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu’s curriculum vitae, while Quelaton coach Philani “Beefy’’ Ncube, once crowned the best coach in the land, will also be out to prove to all and sundry that he still remains as shrewd a coach as they come despite being shown the door at Chicken Inn where he held the same portfolio. After all his team stretched the Bosso defensive threat to the limit last time around.
However, a tall order awaits Kwela Kwela as Bosso, are no longer just an ordinary club in Zimbabwe football, but a team to beat, as they remain unbeaten after 15 starts. And a defeat for Bosso to “minnows’’ Quelaton just like a disastrous earthquake would certainly register highly on the Richter scale.
Quelaton is the same side, which, prior to the reverse fixture on July 15 at the same venue, were not given a chance, but they duly hit back at their critics when they came from behind to draw with Bosso 1-1. After all the reputation of small teams going all out in such volatile encounters has proved legendary in the PSL.
On the other hand, consistency has certainly not been a problem for Highlanders coming into this match.
Highlanders’ last game albeit at the same venue ended in a 1-1 draw against Dynamos in a game in which they were poised to win had they turned their first half dominance into goals and had they converted a second half penalty.
The Bosso’ juggernaut has certainly looked a threat when going forward in as many matches, but will their prolific record once again be tested by their opponents’ resolve to survive relegation.
Will Highlanders’ take advantage of Kwela Kwela’s lack of defensive strength; and take advantage of their defence that has conceded 23 goals.
In the absence of Mthulisi Maphosa, coach Kaindu might thrust the inform Eric Mudzingwa into the anchoring role while throwing in Dumisani “Fazo’’ Ndlovu to partner captain Mapuranga in a centre back role, while Atlast Musasa’s right back role might be taken by Lawson Nkomo, who has reportedly recovered from injury.
As for the sole strikers role in the absence of the suspended Graham Ncube, who is also serving a ban after accumulating there yellow cards, alongside Musasa and Maphosa, Kaindu might throw into the fray either Beavan Chikaka or Cleopas Dube, a recent acquisition from ZPC Hwange for his baptism. However, other options include team prodigies, Ozias Zibande, and Knox Mutizwa.
In the middle of the park, Kaindu has many options in Simba Mambare, a player, who possesses pace and skill in equal measure, Bhekimpilo Ncube, top goalscorer Milton Ncube, Simon Munawa, Heritein Masuku, Peter “Rio’’ Moyo, newboy Takunda Sadiki and young Arnold Ndiweni.
Although his side has been in near perfect form, Kaindu says it would be no easy outing for his team.
“There is no game which is easy especially for us since we have gone 15 games without a loss and every team wants to beat us,’’ he said.
The Zambian mentor said his players had learnt from the previous encounter and would approach the game with a different attitude, going out with much more force.
“The approach is different from the last game where there was a little bit of complacency. We will go out with much force. Of course we are aware that local derbies are difficult to win.’’
Quelaton, on the other hand, boast of the killer touch of Eddie Nkulungo and the inspiration of captain Innocent Kutsanzira who might prove pivotal as Kwela Kwela quest to pull off a Houdini act. The away team is also expected to feature surprise packages acquired during the July transfer window that would include veteran Chipo Tsodzo.
At the Colliery, CAPS United have an insurmountable task of ending a bad spell that has seen them lose three matches in a row when they clash with Hwange, a team that beat the former champions 2-1 in the reverse fixture in the capital.
Buffaloes v Hardbody (Sakubva), Highlanders v Quelaton (BF), Shabanie v Gunners (Maglas), Hwange v CAPS (Colliery).