The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda , Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS assistant coach, Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu believes that their top four dream is still very much alive despite the Bulawayo giants having wasted two glorious opportunities to close the gap with fourth placed Triangle.
Bosso drew with Caps United and Shabanie Mine, results which saw them still four points behind Triangle with five matches remaining. Highlanders are sixth on the log with the same number of points as Caps United but Makepekepe are fifth due to a superior goal difference.
Mpofu indicated that with 15 points to play for, they will approach the remaining five matches as if each of them is the final one for the season. The desire from the Highlanders technical team is to bring joy to the fans who have stuck with the team during the good and bad times throughout the season.
“We have 15 points to play for, we can make it, we want to put some smiles into our people who are the supporters who have done pretty well so far in terms of supporting the project. Home and away they have been with us and we will play these last five games, especially the one that we are playing on Sunday, we want to play these games like we are playing the last game of the season where we want to win it and we get the championship,’’ Mpofu said.
Highlanders face struggling Bulawayo City in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixture at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon. Mpofu feels it will not be an easy match to win with the players having a huge role in deciding the outcome of the encounter.
“It’s not easy because I don’t think they want to lose this one. To us, there is a lot at stake. It’s a players game, we have got little to impact on Sunday, 90 percent is going to be on players, decision making, what do we do now because any team that will make a mistake will go down and we don’t want to make any mistakes,’’ said Mpofu.
Highlanders have to do without the injured duo of Ben Musaka and Charlton Siamalonga as well as Adrian Silla, who misses the match after accumulating three yellow cards. This leaves the likes of Ariel Sibanda, MacClive Phiri, Peter Muduhwa, Nigel Makumbe, Tafadzwa Sibanda, Gabriel Nyoni, Newman Sianchali and Denzel Khumalo to do the job for Bosso.
Despite being bottom of the log with 19 points, Bulawayo City actually have a better record than Highlanders in their last two encounters. Amakhosi ended their losing streak with a 1-1 draw against Shabanie Mine before they defeated Ngezi Platinum Stars 1-0 at Barbourfields. The victory over Ngezi was the first win for coach Bekithemba Ndlovu since he took over from Amini Soma-Phiri in July.
Bulawayo will count on the experience of Munyaradzi Diya, Zephania Ngodzo, Erick Mudzingwa, Benson Phiri to gel well with Innocent Kutsanzira, Nhlanhla Ndlovu and Trevor Ndlovu.