Battle of the citiesBattle of the cities…can Bosso shock Dembare?


SOCCER-LOVERS are in for a treat this Sunday in another blockbuster of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
After witnessing the Harare derby between CAPS United and Dynamos on Sunday that ended with a 2-0 loss for United, Dynamos host Highlanders in another potential thriller match.
With the memories of the 2-0 victory still etched in the minds of Dembare fans, Highlanders face-off with their soccer arch rivals Dynamos, at the ceremonial home of football, Rufaro Stadium, in the heart of Mbare, Harare’s oldest suburb.
Christian Epoupa’s brace sunk a confident CAPS United outfit in an afternoon that saw thousands throng the giant National Sports Stadium.
The 2016 champions cashed in on an afternoon that the lowest ticket was pegged at US$5 for the rest of the ground.
The hiked gate fees did not deter fans from coming in their numbers from both sides.
The blue army was more visible than the United fans.
United were outwitted, though loyals put the blame for defeat on the referee.
It was Mutasa who won the battle of the Lloyds.
Chitembwe had a busy afternoon on the touchline, barking every instruction he could think of but to no avail.
Highlanders come to Rufaro at a time DeMbare are riding a purple patch while the black and white boys are at their worst.
Highlanders have been playing badly in the past month.
In August, they neither scored nor won a match.
The best they achieved was a goalless draw at Barbourfields Stadium against visitors Harare City.
They conceded seven goals.
Highlanders’ last victory was at Maglas Stadium on July 30 against Shabanie Mine.
The blockbuster match presents a chance for Highlanders to pick up from where they left last season after turning the tables on Dynamos.
Dutchman Elroy Akbay did what his predecessors Kelvin Kaindu, Mkhuphali Masuku, Cosmas Zulu and Bongani Mafu, among others, failed to do in a decade — beating Dynamos.
Akbay managed to collect six points from Dynamos last season.
It remains to be seen whether the Dutchman will repeat the feat against a fired-up Dembare outfit that has collected 15 points in the past five games.
DeMbare has found the back of the net 13 times.
Stakes for Sunday’s match favour Dynamos, but the Glamour boys must not read much into Highlanders’ current form.
Reading much into the squabbles at Highlanders may compromise their approach to the game.
It might be a game where Highlanders may put their problems aside and upset Dynamos at Rufaro for the second year running.
Highlanders coach recently criticised the executive at the club for failing the team by not availing funds to acquire new players during the mid-season transfer window.
Elsewhere, league contenders FC Platinum take on How Mine in battle of the miners at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane tomorrow (Saturday).
The platinum miners are on 48 points together with Dynamos, only separated by superior goal difference.
The white-metal miners are in yet another campaign for the title after two unsuccessful tries.
In 2011 and 2016, FC Platinum failed to make it by a hair’s breadth.
How Mine are tricky customers for FC Platinum as the team’s Zambian gaffer is a big tactician.
With home advantage and current form, FC Platinum are the favourites to win the match.
Log leaders Chicken Inn welcome Yadah as the 2015 champions relish another league championship.
The Gamecocks, as Chicken Inn are affectionately known in football circles, have been consistent this season.
They enjoy a three-points lead ahead of Dynamos and FC Platinum. Chicken Inn have played 24 games while Dynamos have 22.
Harare City travel to Mhondoro-Ngezi where they face another title contender, Ngezi Platinum Stars, at Baobab Stadium today (Friday).
The platinum miners will be looking for nothing short of a victory after losing the top spot to Chicken Inn.
Losses to CAPS United and Shabanie Mine derailed the determined Tonderayi Ndiraya-coached side as they slipped three places down the ladder.
It is a tight contest at the top of-the-table with the competition having become a four-horse race.
Chicken Inn, Dynamos, FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum are in the contending quartet.
Shabanie Mine, Hwange, Tsholotsho and Bantu Rovers are engaged in a relegation fight.
Bantu and Tsholotsho have slim chances of avoiding the relegation axe while Hwange and Shabanie Mine still have mathematical chances of playing in the top flight next season.


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