The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
THE two clubs with the biggest following in the country, Highlanders and Dynamos, clash today at Barbourfields Stadium in what will be a big test for their supporters as the game take place on the backdrop of poor performances by both sides.
The most anticipated match in the land takes place at a time both teams are struggling to lift their game but a win for either side is likely to be a confidence booster in the league campaign.
Highlanders head into the game gripped by an uncertainty over technical manager, Madinda Ndlovu’s stay at the club with reports linking him with a move to Botswana’s Gaborone United at the end of this month. The club’s media liaison officer, Ronald Moyo admitted the reports were an unwelcome distraction and disturbing to the fans as they head into the most anticipated game. Ndlovu has, however, insisted he is not going anywhere.
DeMbare has improved since Tonderayi Ndiraya took over from Lloyd “Mablanyo” Chigowe with the team registering three draws, three wins and a loss. Despite the teams’ poor form, fans had already started buying match tickets following introduction of e-ticketing by the Premier Soccer League during the week, an indication Bosso could gross its highest attendance this year.
Ndlovu said while reports of his departure had a negative effect on the Bosso camp, he revealed his charges had been working hard at training with each player making the extra effort to make it into today’s final squad that will face DeMbare.
“We have been preparing well for this tricky encounter, a game in which every supporter is eager for a win. The nature of this game means that fans want nothing but victory. We have been training very well; the boys are in good spirit and have not been pulled back by the loss to Yadah but are really willing to be in the fight on Sunday (today). We all understand and know the Dynamos games, you don’t even need to motivate the players, they are self-motivated and the situation we are having in training is that all players are itching to be in the team.”
Ndlovu said they are spoilt for choice in terms of player selection and are in a better position to field a formidable team today as they do not have fresh injuries with only MacClive Phiri and Bukhosi Ncube still out. Bosso are struggling to lift themselves out of the relegation zone and remain stuck on position 15 following a poor start that has seen them collect only 11 points from as many games, winning only two games in that period.
DeMbare are not far off as they are perched on 10th position with 15 points from the same number of games. The Harare-based side head into today’s match with a woeful record in Bulawayo this season, having been handed two defeats and walking away with a draw in the three times they have visited Barbourfields. They lost 2-0 to Chicken Inn and lost again to Bulawayo Chiefs by the same margin before securing a nil all draw against TelOne. Ndiraya said the poor run will come in as a motivating factor in today’s game, their last in Bulawayo this season, as they would not want to end the year without winning a game in the city. He said despite the two sides’ poor form, he expects a huge turnout as fans come in their droves to back their teams to victory.
“I expect a capacity crowd tomorrow because the fans have been the strength of the two teams, despite their struggles, either set of fans cherish the victory in this game. A win against our rivals certainly boosts confidence, it makes the boys start to believe and the fact that it’s a big match that we are playing, a win would really drive the team going forward. Most of our boys are playing in this contest for the first time and if they get a good result it would boost their confidence going forward,” added Ndiraya.
Ndiraya said they welcome back captain, Edward Sadomba from injury and expect him to play a crucial role in today’s match.
“Sadomba has been very critical in our matches, his experience comes in handy tomorrow (today) to assist inexperienced players handle the game. He is coming back at the right time and has been talking to the boys during the week, assisting us to motivate them and I hope he will continue doing the same come the game on Sunday (today). All our players are available for selection for the first time which is encouraging and there has been great competition at training which made it difficult for us to select our final 18,” he said.