Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE first 2019 Bulawayo derby pitting championship chasing Chicken against troubled Highlanders is on this afternoon at Barbourfields Stadium and many Bosso fans are hopeful the team will collect its first set of three points this season.
Tshilamoya are winless in the opening six games of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season where they have drawn four and lost two matches to take their points tally to just four, eight points behind their opponents this afternoon. The Gamecocks have recorded four wins and lost the same number as Bosso.
More crucially and maybe even a bit embarrassing for Highlanders is that they are one of only three teams yet to collect maximum points with the other being Twitter masters Bulawayo Chiefs and debutants Mushowani Stars.
Bosso have not only been none scoring in terms of wins on the field of play but they have also been attracting attention to themselves for all the wrong reasons in the boardroom that led to the suspension of two executive committee members, vice chairman Mordern Ngwenya and secretary general Israel Moyo over their refusal to renew the contract of chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube.
Dube’s contract ran out on April 30.
Coach Madinda Ndlovu is still putting up a brave face and believes they are at par with their opponents today.
“I can safely say that we’re at par with Chicken Inn, as we’ve lost the same number of matches so far,” Ndlovu told the media at the club’s Thursday press conference.
The legendary Ndlovu however did not tell the same media that the Gamecocks have recorded four wins while his boys are yet to celebrate a victory.
The performance by Highlanders in their last game against Hwange might have given Ndlovu the reason to believe that his boys are at the same level as Chicken Inn whose coach Joe Antipas said they are not prepared to become Bosso’s first victims.
“It’s no secret that the team is playing great football and we remain optimistic of finding form and start recording good results,” said Ndlovu.
“We are not basing on our opponents’ position or their last match; what we’re saying is that we respect them as a PSL team and we’re also a PSL team. We will continue working hard and the results will follow.”
For Antipas, the worry is that his players might be complacent and has warned against that mind set.
“It’s going to be a tough game because we’re playing a good side Highlanders who are going through a bad spell and that happens in football. What we should simply do is not read much into their performance and try to get maximum points so that we keep up with the other championship chasing teams. We don’t want to be Highlanders’ first victims of the season,” said Antipas.
Since Chicken Inn gained promotion into the elite league in 2011, they have lost just twice to their City neighbours, the first on the debut season when they lost 1-2 on May 25, 2011 and it had to take six years for Highlanders to record their second victory over Chicken Inn while the Gamecocks have a proud seven wins with the other seven encounters being stalemates.
Ndlovu is likely to stick to the same starting line up that did duty against Hwange with maybe a few tactical instructions to the boys especially right back MacClive Phiri, who despite being an excellent player, seems to behave like a programmed robot that can not change on its own. Last Sunday Phiri continued to pump
crosses to the box even if there was a better positioned player just outside and that approach continued even with a short forward like Ray Lunga who was introduced late in the game.
Match Day Seven Fixtures
Today: Harare City v Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro), Mushowani Stars v Black Rhinos (National Sports Stadium), Chicken Inn v Highlanders (Barbourfields), ZPC Kariba v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Nyamhunga)
Tomorrow: Triangle United v Caps United (Gibbo), Herental v Manica Diamonds (National Sports Stadium), Yadah v Dynamos (Rufaro), TelOne v FC Platinum (Luveve), Hwange v Chapungu (Colliery)